Trend: from the separation of powers to an open clash
In the US, a lower federal judge suspended Trumps entry ban for the entire country. Does a lower federal judge have that kind of authority? And: is it a good thing? 'It's a matter of checks and balances.'
The judge in Washington state decided to temporarily suspend the travel ban, pending on further investigation whether the executive order is constitutional. Ofcourse Trumps appeal was quickly denied by the lower court. And now the US government faces a procedural battle that could drag on for weeks or even months.
Does a federal judge have that kind of power? Obviously. And it’s not the first time a judge stops a president either. This “nationwide injunction” (that's what they call it) happened to Obama and his administration too.
According to Jurgen Goossens, professor of constitutional law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and postdoc at Ghent University with a Yale Law School graduate, that's not a problem but a matter of checks and balances:
"Nowadays an appeal to the courts is an efficient way to act against the new policy. The president has far-reaching power and the judiciary can - within the rules of the legal system - recall the executive."
However things could also lead to an open conflict between the judiciary and executive. And probably not just this once. Since the White House and the majority in the Congress is Republican, he argues, and most federal judges - not seldom appointed at the time of President Obama - are Democratically minded the clash of powers is almost inevitable.
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