When the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” aired, one of its features was the ability to “Phone-a-Friend.” In what appears to be a version of the show, Donald Trump’s “Who Wants to be a Billionaire Loser,” he and the gaggle of GOP sycophants have implemented their special feature, “Phone-the-SCOTUS.” Sadly, that is not how any of this works.
The Trump administration has on several occasions tried to circumvent the lower Article III courts and go directly to the Supreme Court, with the Supreme Court rejecting such tactics. Trump continues to speak as if he thinks the Supreme Court is in his pocket and that he has full access to it, and that it will automatically rule in his favor. While on many matters that is the likely outcome, Trump should be careful. We might all recall that Trump’s behavior a few months back caused Chief Justice John Roberts to issue a rare statement about the impartiality of the courts.
Last week, Senator Lindsey “Kompromat” Graham stated, “I don’t intend to call the FISA judges ‘do you think you were hoodwinked?’ That is uncomfortable for me. But I am going to ask Roberts ‘would you please look and see what happened?’ because I don’t want to lose the FISA program.” Back in the real world, the FISA courts do not report to Roberts, and there is no appeal. This whole FISA thing is also a mere conspiracy theory that Graham and others should not be calling the Supreme Court or anyone about.
This week, “President” Trump has indicated he will ask the Supreme Court to stop lower courts from blocking unconstitutional laws. However, this again is not how the co-equal branch of government works. While the Supreme Court could rule in a particular case that a nationwide injunction was wrongly granted, a wholesale abolition would take away limits on executive power that are part and parcel of the checks and balances of the three branches. The Trump administration’s perceived coziness with the Supreme Court should be addressed by Chief Justice Roberts and should not be encouraged or endorsed by the feckless GOP. It impugns the integrity of the bench.