Trump Justice Department takes another hit in the courts. | THE POLITICUS

Trump Justice Department takes another hit in the courts.

The way things are going, it may turn out that the federal courts will turn out to be one of the biggest obstacles for the Trump administration, and one of the brightest points for the rest of us.

With the inability of the GOP congress to get any kind of substantive legislation even through the House much less the Senate and onto Trump’s desk, he is reduced to ruling by fiat, using Executive Orders to get anything done, and to claim a win.    

But those damn pesky courts just are not cooperating with him. First, federal court judges, backed up by a federal appeals court confirmation have not once, but twice blocked Trump’s attempts to restrict immigration from Muslim dominated countries. Then a federal judge in Kentucky a couple of days ago ruled that  a lawsuit filed by protesters who were roughed up at a Trump rally after he yelled “Get ‘em OUTTA here!” could proceed, that Trump had actually incited the violence with his words. And now Mother Jones is that a federal judge in Nevada has slapped down the Trump Justice department again.

The genesis of the case is as follows. In 2013, the Obama Justice Department joined voting activists, Democratic lawmakers and Texas residents in a lawsuit against a restrictive new Texas voting rights law. The law allowed the use of concealed carry permits, which are disproportionately issued to whites to prove identity for voting, while not allowing the use of forms of ID such as state employee ID’s and college ID’s, which minorities are more likely to have. The plaintiffs alleged that the discrimination was intentional by the state, and the lower court judge agreed, ruling the law unconstitutional.

The appellate court judge agreed with the discrimination being unconstitutional, but returned the case back to the lower court to rule definitively on the issue of intentional discrimination by the state. This is critical for civil rights, and especially for Texas. As the report states;

The question of intent is significant. The finding of a discriminatory effect necessitates altering the law. But if the court finds that Texas acted with a discriminatory intent, the judge could throw the law out entirely. What's more, if Texas is found to have engaged in intentional voting discrimination, a judge could require the state to seek federal approval for future changes to its voting laws.

Here’s where Trump comes in. Once Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General, the US Justice Department asked a federal court for permission to withdraw from the case, and for the court to withhold ruling as to the intent of the discrimination, allowing the Texas legislature to alter and soften the law, but protecting Texas from more serious repercussions, such as the law being tossed out, or having to pre clear future voting rights laws. So much for being an Attorney General for all of the people. Once again, the courts were having none of the administrations attempted sleight of hand tactics. In ruling on the requests, the judge was not kind;

United States District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos took issue with the idea that the state legislature's action would remove the need to litigate the intent issue. "It is well-settled that new legislation does not ipso facto eliminate the discriminatory intent behind older legislation and moot a dispute regarding the violation of law," the judge wrote. In her , she went on to dispute the logic the government's lawyers presented in their briefs and cited multiple cases to explain why the case should proceed. The judge indicated she will issue a ruling on the discriminatory intent question this spring, without waiting on Texas lawmakers to act.

This is the problem, not only for Trump, but for the ideologues in GOP state governments as well. It turns out that those pesky civil rights, voting rights, and personal choice rights are there for a reason. Us common slobs happen to lubs us a little citizen equality, voting rights, and some control over our bodies and lives. When Republicans come to power, they immediately rush to pander to their craven base, passing restrictive discrimination, voting rights, gay rights and abortion rights laws. The only problem is that in order to make the laws palatable to their base, they have to go to an extent that makes the laws unconstitutional. And they can’t just blame those “damn liberal, bleeding heart judges”, in several of these cases, it was judges appointed by Bush Lite, Pappy Bush, and even Ronald Reagan who have ruled on the side of justice and the law.

The solution is really quite simple here. All the GOP legislators need to do is to add whatever restrictions they want, just as long as they fall within the parameters of existing federal laws that hold sway over state rules. The problem is that if they do that, the results will not be restrictive and draconian enough to satisfy their base. Tough being a soulless ideologue sometimes ain’t it boys and girls?