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Boardman writes: "Lawyers in all sorts of courts argue heartless positions every day without fear of reprimand from a judge, who may also be heartless. The admonition from Judge Garaufis is an anomaly filled with hope, not least because he was admonishing the Trump administration for its heartless immigration policy."

Donald Trump. (photo: Best China News)
Donald Trump. (photo: Best China News)


President's Blatant Bigotry May Save DREAMERS in Federal Court

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

03 April 18

 

“You can’t come into court to espouse a position that is heartless.”
– Senior US District Judge Nichlas G. Garaufis
US District Court for Eastern District of New York
September 26, 2017

awyers in all sorts of courts argue heartless positions every day without fear of reprimand from a judge, who may also be heartless. The admonition from Judge Garaufis is an anomaly filled with hope, not least because he was admonishing the Trump administration for its heartless immigration policy. Specifically, the judge was chiding lawyers from the US Department of Justice for the government’s rigid unwillingness to adjust their schedule ending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program designed to provide justice to some 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the US as children and have grown up here to be as American as anyone else. Judge Garaufis pointed out that the government’s heartless action affected more than just the 800,000 young people, but also their families, employers, and communities.

As soon as the Trump administration announced its plan to end DACA, its defenders took the government to federal court. The National Immigration Law Center, attorneys general of sixteen states (including New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, California, and Vermont), and other plaintiffs sued the US to prevent the government from ending DACA. The National Immigration Law Center issued a statement September 5, condemning the administration’s attack on DACA:

This is a defining moment for our country. We are being called upon to choose which side of history we are on: Are we going to stand with young people who have grown up in our country and are striving to achieve their dreams? Or are we going to allow policymakers to erect barriers that block youth from contributing their best to this country, which is their home? … [Trump’s decision] is a morally bankrupt choice.”

In the courts it was a different story after the preliminary procedural activity. On January 9 (Nixon’s birthday) US District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco issued a nationwide injunction requiring the US to leave its DACA program in place until the issue had been fully litigated. On February 12, Judge Garaufis in Brooklyn issued a second nationwide injunction complementing the first. In response to the government’s objections, the judge wrote in his 55-page decision:

… the court finds that a nationwide injunction is warranted in these cases. First, it is hard to conceive of how the court would craft a narrower injunction that would adequately protect Plaintiffs’ interests. Plaintiffs include not only several individuals and a nonprofit organization, but also sixteen states and the District of Columbia…. Furthermore, there is a strong federal interest in the uniformity of federal immigration law…. Because the decision to rescind the DACA program has a “systemwide impact,” the court will preliminarily impose a “systemwide remedy.”

In that same opinion, preventing the Trump administration from carrying out mass deportations under DACA, the judge observed that: “One might reasonably infer that a candidate who makes overtly bigoted statements on the campaign trail might be more likely to engage in similarly bigoted action in office.”

Before the Brooklyn court issued its injunction, the US had appealed the California injunction to the Supreme Court. When two federal district courts disagree, the Supreme is more likely to intervene to settle the differences. Here, two federal courts were in agreement. On February 26, the Supreme Court declined to hear the DACA case, allowing it to proceed in district court and, as needed, federal appellate court. The Supreme Court made no ruling or comment on the merits of the DACA case. The Supreme Court’s decision leaves DACA in place as the legal process proceeds, perhaps until it eventually reaches the Supreme Court on appeal at some unknown date in the future.

On March 29, in Brooklyn federal court, Judge Garaufis ruled against a US motion to dismiss the case. He rejected the US Justice Department argument that, just because the president repeatedly makes racially and culturally bigoted remarks – like calling Mexicans thugs, animals, and bad hombres – that doesn’t prove his actions against minorities are based on his bigotry.

Ruling that the suit against the government’s immigration plans, Batalla Vidal v. Baran et.al, can go forward, Judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote: “Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to raise a plausible inference that the DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] rescission was substantially motivated by unlawful discriminatory purpose.” Or to put it in lay terms, the immigrant Dreamers, people who were brought here as children and have grown up as American as you or I, were and very likely still are targets of the president’s vitriolic hatred expressed at the start of his campaign when he called all Mexican immigrants criminals, drug dealers, rapists, and “some good people.”

Rejecting the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case, Judge Garaufis wrote dryly: “Although the use of racial slurs, epithets, or other racially charged language does not violate equal protection per se, it can be evidence that official action was motivated by unlawful discriminatory purposes.” Again, in lay terms that means that when a known bigot does something obviously bigoted, then perhaps his bigoted action is derived from his expressed bigotry. Just maybe.

Judge Garaufis’s ruling should allow the case to go to trial and be determined by the evidence. As the judge wrote: “The court does not see why it must or should bury its head in the sand when faced with overt expressions of prejudice. The court is aware of no authority holding that this rule does not apply simply because the speaker is, or is running to be, the President of the United States.”

Do we really want to be the kind of country needs its courts to enforce common human decency? That’s the kind of country America seems to be these days, and it’s taken a good deal of time to get here. At a time when the Congress is filled with quisling Republicans and feckless Democrats, it appears as a slightly hopeful sign when some courts put at least some check on the president’s cruel destructiveness. The people affected by DACA are very different from our president, not least because they were not born into a rich family of practicing racists. The president’s decidedly un-Christian burst of twitter spittle over Easter weekend offered no hope. “NO MORE DACA DEAL,” he spluttered all in caps before going on to claim a fever-dream “caravan” of immigrants swarming across the border was somehow true (along with others like “DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon... No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!”).

Bigotry is soul-destroying for everyone, as our bigot-in-chief in the White House demonstrates almost daily. To be a decent nation within the norms of common decency and the intent of the US Constitution, we must resist and reject bigotry in all its forms. But for hope to be realized, a lot more of us need to bring the callous politics of bipartisan cruelty to an end. There may or may not be light at the end of the tunnel for any of us. There is a hint of light at the end of the tunnel for DACA, but there may only be the Supreme Court at the end of the tunnel, a court where many parties have pleaded positions that are heartless and the court has affirmed their heartlessness.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


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+33 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-03 17:55
"Do we really want to be the kind of country needs its courts to enforce common human decency? "

Of course, we don't want this but it has very often been the case in the US. Bigotry is as American as apple pie. But something that is often overlooked is that the people concerned here, the DACA recipients, are really Americans. They came to the US as children. They have grown up here, gone to school here, and are just as American as any other American. All they lack is the citizenship certificate.

The problem is really a political one. Many of Trump's base are bigots. They hate immigrants, especially from Latin America. They have been whipped up by Fox and right wing bigots who tell them that the US is being invaded by people from Mexico who are going to take their jobs or commit crimes. Trump played heavily to this in his campaign. Now he is trapped by his own bigoted campaign.


So it is up to the courts.
 
 
+12 # Porfiry 2018-04-04 06:20
Again, when you say something as reasonable and compassionate as this, I'm with you. One problem is that Trump wants to pack the courts with fellow narrow-minded bigots hiding under the umbrella misnamed as "conservative."
 
 
+11 # wrknight 2018-04-04 10:05
Just another incentive to get out the vote in the primaries and in November to get rid of the bigots in Congress. In particular, we need to elect a Democratic Senate that will guarantee no more Trump appointments to the Courts.
 
 
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-04 16:42
Porfiry - yes Trump's appointment of federal judges is the one area where his administration is functioning like a well oiled machine. But it is not Trump (he's a mess). Trump has pretty much adopted the plans of the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. He's just appointing judges they recommend and the Senate is taking orders from them to confirm these judged.

Trump has appointed and confirmed more federal judges in his first year than any president before him. This is a true tragedy. these people have lifetime appointments.

The fault here goes to Obama who was a slacker when it came to judges.
 
 
+4 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2018-04-04 20:07
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
Trump has appointed and confirmed more federal judges in his first year than any president before him. This is a true tragedy. these people have lifetime appointments.

The fault here goes to Obama who was a slacker when it came to judges.
Fault? That sounds like you want us to think that Obama deliberately failed to nominate judges and justices. If that's what you mean, you are a liar.

On the other hand, if what you MEAN is that those 100+ judgeships were Obama's fault because he failed to bring suit in the Supreme Court against the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee for failing in his Constitutional duty to bring the President's nominations to the Senate floor, well, you might be right about that.

So which is it?
 
 
+5 # Benign Observer 2018-04-05 11:47
How could Obama let the Merrick Garland appointment sit FOR A YEAR?!

That sets a dangerous precedent that I hope no future president will adopt. It was weak and it will have terrible consequences.
 
 
-3 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-04-04 02:53
Hopefully Trump will swing the pendulum back faster and further. Nixon reopened China. Reagan ended The Cold War. We'll see.
 
 
0 # Benign Observer 2018-04-05 11:49
Oops! Mustn't say anything remotely hopeful either. It's not enough to hate his guts and criticize every fart. Now you have to say he is deplorable too -- and irredeemable. It would be impossible for Trump to ever do anything right.

This is the state of 'resistance' -- all surface puffery with little to show for it.
 
 
+12 # Larry 2018-04-04 07:48
I agree, except I submit that anyone and everyone who supports an overt bigot is him/herself a bigot. Sadly, that includes at least one-third of US voters.

Someone (although no one seems to know who) said that if the Jews did not exist, Hitler would have had to invent them. Dictators and tyrants need an "other" to serve as the object of fear, hatred and blame for whatever problems exist at the time. Hitler had the Jews, Napoleon had Snowball, and Trump has immigrants.
 
 
-1 # Benign Observer 2018-04-05 11:53
Not everyone who supports Trump is a bigot, but they are bigot-tolerant. A slight difference but meaningful. THOSE people have a limit. Many of them voted for Obama. Perhaps it would have helped Democrats if Obama hadn't traded in Hope & Change for Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and a beefed-up drone program?

Hitler had plenty of other targets: dissidents, Roma, the mentally ill, homosexuals, artists.

Some might even say Hillary had Trump.
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2018-04-04 11:00
signs and wonders? at first glance i assumed this column was by borowitz?

President's Blatant Bigotry May Save DREAMERS in Federal Court
By William Boardman, Reader Supported News
03 April 18

"The admonition from Judge Garaufis is an anomaly filled with hope, not least because he was admonishing the Trump administration for its heartless immigration policy."

- note that Judge Garaufis is not one of the many, many federal judges repukes are court-packing with the nuclear option - a large minority of federal judges will soon be heartless

"Next time, we must resolve to MAKE OUR VOTE COUNT!" - (caps in original) - bernie
 
 
+3 # elkingo 2018-04-05 13:55
Charge Trump with child abuse.
 
 
+1 # ericlipps 2018-04-08 15:56
"Must build Wall," indeed.

Trump has so committed himself to this bigoted notion that it's coming to look like a neurotic, or psychotic, fixation.

But perhaps it's something simpler; a childish insistence that "I want it, so gimme!" (followed by screaming tantrums, expressed in ALL CAPS on Twitter, when he doesn't get his way).
 

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