Items in the News: Sanctuary, Denaturalization, and Judges

By Dan Cadman, March 23, 2017

Immigration is constantly in the news for one reason or the next these days. It's like the cone of silence imposed by the Obama administration has been shattered. (Well, in fact, it has, hasn't it? Wasn't that what the election was all about?) Here is a trio of news items covering various aspects of that endlessly fascinating (and controversial) subject.

On Sanctuaries and the Power of Coercion

Hotair.com posted a piece this week about two San Francisco supervisors introducing legislation that would prohibit any company that participates in building a border wall from obtaining any city-county contract work. Hotair notes that New York State and City are both also moving forward with such legislation. Likely other pro-sanctuary jurisdictions will follow suit. The hope, of course, is that these measures will coerce construction companies into thinking carefully about fallout from any decision to bid on any part of the massive public works project.

The other day I blogged about how certain sanctuary jurisdictions are proactively filing suit against the federal government based on concern that their federal grant funds will (finally) be cut off by the Trump administration. They are alleging, among other things ... wait for it ... undue coercion. I just love the ironies of inconsistent progressive thinking, which so often occurs without the least apparent shade of embarrassment or even recognition.

On Denaturalization of Terrorists and National Security Threats

Many, many times over the last few years I have written about the importance of stripping citizenship from traitors, national security threats and terrorists. (See here, here, here, and here, for just a few examples.) My chief lamentation has been that it almost never occurs, no matter how egregious the situation, even though both federal criminal and civil laws contain provisions for this purpose.

For this reason, I'm very pleased that the Department of Justice (DOJ) under stewardship of new Attorney General Sessions has announced that it will be seeking to denaturalize Lyman Faris, a confidante of the infamous Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was convicted in 2003 of his support for terrorism. It's a little after the fact, to say the least, but better late than never. Let's hope that, from here, DOJ attorneys will go chronologically forward with a review of past cases and select several more individuals from the Naturalization Hall of Shame for such treatment. Let's also hope that under A.G. Sessions, orders go out to U.S. attorneys to begin considering concurrent charging of criminal naturalization fraud whenever they are contemplating bringing prosecutions against terrorists and national security threats whenever there is the least bit of proof that such individuals withheld material evidence of their hostile activities and connections.

On Judicial Respect and Judicial Overreach

Neil Gorsuch, judge on the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, has been facing a grilling the past couple of days as a part of the Senate confirmation process (it remains to be seen whether Democrats attempt to filibuster the nomination into stasis, and how the majority leader will react if they do). But as a part of the Senate question-and-answer process, Gorsuch was asked what he thought of the president's recent tweets condemning the judges whose decisions led to a restraining order against both his original and revised executive orders (EOs) having to do with suspension of refugee admissions and visas from certain countries. While avoiding direct reference to the president, news media report that Gorsuch said, "I know these people, and how decent they are, and when anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity or motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening and I find that demoralizing."

Little do I know about Judge Gorsuch other than that he appears to be a decent man (although his mentor is alleged to be Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose views are so varied from right to left that he is, and has been for years, the pivotal swing vote on many an important issue before the court, which must give one pause if we contemplate that for a moment). However, I think the judge is a bit off-base in his response:

  • First, he can't possibly know all "these people" by whom he presumably means the entire federal judiciary which consists of thousands of judges at all levels; sweeping generalizations rarely make for sound reasoning, and ascribing good faith or even common sense to all of them stretches the boundaries of credibility (particularly given the dismal quality of the decisions that led to the president's particular tweets).

  • Second, as he inadvertently notes, they are just "people" — humans under those black robes, with all the wisdom and all the follies to be found among our species. As a consequence, they should no more be entitled to automatic deference than the president himself or, for that matter, Congress or the media or anyone at all.

  • Third, I understand he wishes to emphasizes the importance of respect for the institution of the judiciary and not the "people" under the robes, but in that case, it's also important to recognize that, as with presidents and members of Congress, some members of the judiciary undermine respect for the institution when they don't act in an impartial judicial manner, choosing instead to carry their political views with them into the courtroom. Why, then, should they be given deference? In fact, we begin to ask ourselves, why should they be entitled to lifetime sinecures for this kind of arrogance?