WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!
AND OTHER LESSONS NOT LEARNED BY REPUBLICANS
In Vedic teachings, one of the most ancient collections of religious writings known to humankind, there’s an ancient Hindu saying that has guided the followers of Hinduism (of which there are just over 1 billion today) for centuries: “Karma can be a bitch, man!” Okay, I made this one up. But there is one aspect of Hindu philosophy that Republicans are learning these days: “ Everything is connected to everything else.” What this basically means is quite similar to a law of physics: one action can cause related action at a far distance. This is the effect of throwing a stone into a body of water. The watery ripples are a result of the action of throwing the stone, but are, let’s call them, unintended consequences that result in actions elsewhere, not just where the stone landed in the water.
If you can jog your memory a bit (yes, I know it’s difficult since it seems as if we’ve been wrestling with the Trump Presidency not for 100 days but for what feels like a decade), Republicans got all bent out of shape when so-called “liberal activist judges” ruled against some of their most cherished, closely held, beliefs. Same sex marriage, for example. But apparently those liberal activist anti-we the people, undemocratic judges have not learned their lessons. They are at it again. We are all aware of the Ninth Circuit Court Judge who struck down Trump’s proposed withholding of Federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions and, of course, that infamous ruling in Hawaii that Attorney General Jeff Sessions derided as unworthy of any state that sits out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Attorney Generals of Maryland, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Washington state who successfully challenged Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban.
So good news for liberals, right? Yes, it is. But the rationales for all of these activist judges' rulings actually rest on pretty damned rock solid, Republican and conservative foundations. Judge William Orrick’s decision slapping down Trump’s withholding of Federal funding for sanctuary cities? It comes directly from the Supreme Court’s decision in “National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sibelius” over Obamacare. This was a milestone case upholding the ACA’s individual mandate, but the Supremes also ruled in this case that Congress could not impose significant new restrictions on existing Federal funding, a position hailed by the 26 Republican led states who refused to expand Medicaid. Now however, the proverbial Karma is on the other foot and Republicans are going apeshit over the same kind of ruling they joyously jerked off to when it was against Obama and not them. Karma really can be a bitch, right?
The various courts who ruled that Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban was unconstitutional? These rulings also have solid foundations in cases brought against President Obama’s actions on immigration and transgender rights. It was judges in Texas who ruled that a nationwide injunctions blocking both his immigration and transgender rights actions warranted such across the nation application. So when Hawaii judge Derrick Watson issued a ruling (the one Attorney General Sessions mocked) striking down the Muslim Travel Ban, he ruled that the ban applied nationwide, something that Republicans (and Trump) have questioned as to why a single judge’s ruling in Hawaii (or Oregon, or Hawaii or Maryland) can apply all across the country.
Well, Judge Watson was relying on a Federal Appeals Court ruling back in 2015 that blocked Obama’s immigration program wherein such rulings applied nationwide in order to provide "uniformity" in dealing with immigration all across the country. At the time, Attorney General Sessions, then Senator Sessions, cheered the ruling thusly calling the court's action: “an injunction that stopped the Obama Administration from proceeding with its lawless immigration system.” As one legal eagle states, professor Josh Blackman of South Texas College of Law, “With respect to nationwide injunctions, Blue State Attorney Generals are relying on arguments they expressly opposed during the Obama Administration but Republicans cheered.” Yup. Karma can be a bitch, right Jeff?
Although I haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh for a while (Trump is way too much to deal with without complicating my life with Rush’s Rants that raise my already dangerously high blood pressure) I will bet my entire 401(k) that he is issuing fulminating fusillades against all these rulings by Activist Liberal Judges, as he terms them, without acknowledging to his audience that the decisions and rulings are firmly grounded in cases that were brought by his Republican and conservative cohorts against Obama Admiration’s policies. Precedent is precedent no matter who establishes it. Now, of course, it's all Obama's fault according to Rush. Obama, he rails, has established a secret, Deep State parallel government who's only purpose is to undermine Trump and to thwart all his wonderful policy proposals. And, I can hear him in my head right now, railing about how liberals are shoving our destructive agenda down America’s throats without realizing that it was the conservative “shoving” in the first place that has resulted in these vile, evil, liberal rulings from those vile, evil, liberal, activist judges. Or maybe he just doesn’t realize this, given that his depth of thinking is about as deep as a film of fog on a car windshield.
It will be interesting to see how the newly rebalanced, conservatively rebalanced, of course, Supreme Court will rule on these lower court and judge’s rulings. The Muslim Travel Ban? Even a conservative Court, I think, cannot uphold such a clearly unconstitutional policy. But there was that egregious Hobby Lobby decision that banned Hobby Lobby's employees from using the family planning benefits (condoms, birth control pills, the morning after pill) of thier health insurance policies because the owners didn't like such horrible practices. So, in the end, who knows?