Donald Trump’s attacks on judges have generated blowback, some of it richly deserved, such as his questioning the impartiality of a particular judge due to the judge’s Mexican heritage. Even Trump’s newly minted Supreme Court nominee seems to be dismayed by some of the attacks, though that’s not entirely clear.
But federal judges should not be spared exposure by Trump tweets simply because they are judges. As Rich Lowry said yesterday in National Review: “it is not just the executive or Congress that can abuse its power and overstep its bounds. The courts can, too, and no one is obligated to meekly accept their decisions.”
Trump’s mistake is not that he criticizes judges, but that he criticizes the wrong judges for the wrong reasons.
Here’s a great example of the kind he should not just criticize but excoriate: U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken, a federal judge in Oregon who has allowed the case of Juliana v. United States to go to trial rather than promptly toss it out. The case was filed by Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana and 21 other teens and tweens such as Journey Z., identified in court papers only by his (or is it her? or does it even matter in our brave new world of gender fluidity?) first name because he and many of the other plaintiffs are minors. Also included are organizational plaintiffs with such noble labeling as “Earth Guardians” and “Future Generations.”
Both People and The Atlantic ran puff pieces yesterday on the suit and the “plaintiffs” who are asking Judge Aiken to stop “climate change.” They argue that the federal government “permitted, encouraged, and otherwise enabled continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels . . . .deliberately allow[ing] atmospheric CO2 concentrations to escalate to levels unprecedented in human history.” All this exploitation, production, and combustion have created causes of action as diverse as the kiddies themselves:
Victoria Barrett, 17, of New York City says her family in Honduras is at risk of being displaced by the rising sea level. Nine-year-old Levi of Florida and 13-year-old Jayden of Louisiana were forced from their homes due to floods and hurricanes.
A quick glance at the rule of standing demonstrates what a farce this case is. When you sue in federal court, you need to (1) cite a law the defendant violated, (2) show how that violation will harm you, and (3) explain how the court can make you whole. Your lawsuit has to meet all three requirements for you to have standing, which is mandatory in federal court. This one lacks all three.
First, there’s no statute the federal government violated. But don’t worry. Judge Aiken believes the kiddies have pled causes of action based on violations of their rights to “substantive due process.” That’s the label federal judges attach to constitutional “rights” such as murdering unborn babies and dudes marrying other dudes – the kinds of “rights” that appear nowhere in the Constitution’s text.
Second, there would be no way to prove the federal government’s energy policies may someday flood Jayden’s cajun cottage or the Honduran beach shack in which Victoria’s uncle’s brother-in-law’s daughter resides.
The third requirement is the most problematic. In order for Judge Aiken to grant relief to the kiddies, she would have to enjoin substantially all of the production of so-called greenhouse gases in the U.S. That would mean drastic reductions in the use of motor vehicles and manufacturing – a shut down of much of the economy. And even that wouldn’t help much. Approximately 80% of greenhouse gases are produced by other nations. Assuming that climate change is occurring because of man-made actions, or that it is occurring at all, Judge Aiken could shut down the entire American economy and still not be able to save those precious Honduran beach shacks.
In the judiciary envisioned by the Framers – the kind that, as Alexander Hamilton put it, has “no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society” – Judge Aiken would have immediately dismissed the kiddies’ lawsuit as frivolous, sanctioned the lawyers who filed it, and recommended child services investigate the parents of the “plaintiffs.”
But we live in an age in which federal judges, like a certain ex-president, think they can slow the rise of the oceans. That Judge Aiken is allowing this asinine suit to go to trial means that she believes she has the authority, if the kiddies offer the right evidence, to shut down much of the nation’s economy.
Judge Aiken is just one example of many arrogant tyrants on the nation’s benches whose jackassery needs to be exposed and excoriated as only Trump tweets can do. Hopefully someone in the White House can channel Trump’s tweets away from Mexican-American judges and towards those who really are a threat to America.