On January 9th this year, a San Francisco United State District Judge —- Alsup rules the remaining of in effect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which program Trump Administration has decided to end. President Trump comes back at this ruling with his fury and a decision to appeal the Alsup’s ruling to Supreme Court. It seems like Presidents Trump wants to take justice approach to resolve the dissention, and he really tries hard to ensure the legitimacy of the actions he takes to counter the injunction that impose by Alsup’s ruling of the end of DACA. However, throughout the entire process that Trump and his Administration respond to Alsup’s ruling, there are many signals that indicate democratic erosion is happening in United States.
As soon as the ruling comes out, Trump and his Admins immediately come back at the ruling by trying to delegitimize it. Sarah Huckabee, the White House spokeswomen, comments in a statement released that the DACA ruling by Alsup is “outrageous”. By phrasing the ruling as outrageous, Trump and his Administration send out a signal that they don’t believe Alsup, who as a district judge has the right to rule the block of termination of DACA which should be decided by the federal level legislation. The word “outrageous” delegitimizes the ruling, for it suggests the ruling stops a plan which it has not right to stop. Huckabee also brings up that because of time this ruling comes out, it almost diminishes the successful bipartisan meeting President Trump has with the House and Senate members that happens at the same day. She is trying to further delegitimize the rule by creating an impression that this “outrage” ruling is something both parties don’t want, especially, for now when they can willingly sit down and talk to each other. Based on what Huckabee says, Alsup’s ruling almost become a block for both the end of DACA and the migration of partisan conflicts. The attempts Trump and his Administration take to delegitimize the ruling erodes the core of democratic system, for it just simply takes away the right of their counterparts to legally impose any action to defend their rights and beliefs.
Even though the White House and Trump insist that Alsup’s ruling is outlawed and promise that the government will deal with this issue via a normal legislative process, they never quite do so. Trump and his Administrations have shown their distrusts of the legitimacy of current legal system and even erode the legitimacy of it by some of their actions. While files the notice of appeal with the 9th US Circuit Court where is the first place the appeal of ruling should go, the Justice Department also decides to take the “rare step” and files the petition to appeal the ruling directly to United States Supreme Court. Such action not only breaks the Trump’s promise of which he will take normal process to come back at the ruling, but also diminishes the legitimacy current appealing process which decides the appeal cases should be reviewed by the local courts at first. Justice Department’s action of bypassing the 9th U.S. Circuit Court is a signal of slowly eroding of the legitimacy of the U.S. legal system and it can potentially lead to the further mistrusts by the publics toward the system of this country. The directly file of the appealing of Alsup’s ruling may be caused due to Trump’s frustration towards current United States Court system which he phrases as “broken and unfair”, and the local courts allow the opposite side of any case that is similar to DACA wins almost every-time. Thus, Trump wishes, by having the Supreme Court to appeal the case directly, to eliminate the injustice caused by unfair system. However, when a president elected by the democratic system starts to lose faith on the legitimacy of part of the system that elects him, wouldn’t that be a perfect sign of democratic erosion is happening?
It is also hard to overlook the fact that Trump’s attempt to use the Supreme Court to reverse Alsup’s ruling implies his intention to use judicial review to further legitimize his decision of terminating DACA, and by so even eliminate the check of balance on DACA’s issue. Once the Supreme Court decides to reverse Alsup’s ruling, it automatically implies the ruling is outlawed and almost simultaneously supports the continuation of termination of DACA. If that happens, Trump can easily say the termination of DACA is supported by the judicial branch. Since couple of branches reach their agreements, there will no longer be so much check of balance on issues relative DACA. Who should be held accountable of the termination of DACA will become ambiguous too, because there will be some many factors that play roles to promote it. Using judicial review as mechanism to concentrate the support of the stop of DACA, Trump may not consider his action will threaten democracy, however, what he does really denies the core of check and balance which is the mechanism to ensure the prosperity of democracy.
On Monday, February19th, the Supreme Court doesn’t take any action on appeal of Alsup’s ruling. It is hard to predict if the Supreme Court will reverse the ruling or decide the ruling in lower court should be remained. Over all, the Supreme Court now has the final say of the fate of DACA dreamers and the power to tone down, or to aggravate the democratic erosion in United State by its judgement and the process it uses to reach the decision. Let’s wait to see what will happen.
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