When one hears that federal judges are reviewing an important case, one would naturally presume that the judges take into account all pertinent facts, existing law and court precedent to formulate a judgment on the matter.
What one doesn’t assume will happen is that the judge will ignore all of the above and solely base a ruling upon unrelated campaign trail statements from the past and incomplete, unofficial government documents that have been illegally leaked to the media. But that seems to have been the case when it comes to President Donald Trump’s executive order temporary travel bans, according to Breitbart.
Our readers will no doubt recall the federal judge in Portland, Oregon, who issued a temporary restraining order against Trump’s first travel ban, upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the federal judge in Hawaii and another in Maryland who put a halt to Trump’s second, more refined travel ban.
It turned out that both the Hawaii and Maryland judges, Judge Derrick Watson and Judge Theodore Chuang, respectively, largely based their March 15 rulings against the travel ban on an unofficial draft report from the Department of Homeland Security that had been leaked to The Associated Press and published on Feb. 24.
The leaked draft document, whose author remained unknown, sought to undermine Trump’s order by downplaying the terrorist threat posed by individuals from the named countries in the travel ban and was cited by the judges as evidence that Trump’s national security rationale for issuing the travel ban had no basis of support.
However, footnotes in the leaked document made clear that the information was incomplete and had deliberately excluded certain facts that would have more broadly supported the notion that action was needed against the named countries.
Furthermore, that much and more was made clear by a DHS spokeswoman named Gillian Christensen who was quoted in the actual AP story that leaked the document.
“While DHS was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you’re referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing,” Christensen explained to the AP. “The … report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It is incomplete.”
Yet, this incomplete, unofficial, illegally leaked document, never meant for public consumption, was nevertheless used by the judges to strike down Trump’s order, regardless of the fact that his order was lawful and in line with the Constitution and precedent.
Were these judges truly the nonpartisan and impartial arbiters of jurisprudence they are held out to be, they would have quickly dismissed this leaked report as being largely meaningless and would have instead focused on what actually matters, such the actual language of the order, the actual law the order was based on and prior court cases of a similar nature.
Trump has vowed to appeal the judges’ ruling against his executive order, to the Supreme Court if necessary. If the fight does go that far, that court rulings that rely mainly on a poorly sourced AP report are going to have a hard time carrying the day.
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