In her column for the Washington Post, longtime political observer Ruth Marcus ridiculed Donald Trump for absorbing yet another setback in the courts this past week, using the president’s own words to brand him as a “loser.”
Echoing the president who labeled US military prisoners of war and those who lost their lives defending the country as “losers and suckers,” Marcus wrote, “For President Trump, ‘loser’ is a special term of derision,” before dryly adding, “Here’s a real loser, though: Trump himself, in court. The administration’s remarkable string of litigation losses is clear and measurable. Its legal positions tend to the extreme; its efforts to implement them are regularly shoddy. Judges aren’t having it — even Republican-appointed judges.”
Case in point, as she notes, was a setback this week on the census after the president demanded in July that undocumented individuals be excluded from the count — which was summarily dismissed by two Republican-appointed judges and one appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Pointing out that the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have had great luck packing the court with highly conservative judges, Marcus notes that the president’s positions in many of the court cases have been so extreme that even those jurists couldn’t swallow the specious legal reasoning provided by the president’s lawyers.
“These are not your previous Republican presidents’ very conservative judges. Elliot Mincberg of the liberal group People for the American Way has identified more than 100 cases in which the position of Trump judges was so extreme that judges nominated by previous Republican presidents broke with them,” Marcus wrote before adding, “But notwithstanding these eager foot soldiers in the conservative legal battle, the administration’s record in the federal courts remains gratifyingly dismal.”
According to political scientist Lee Epstein and law professor Eric Posner, when it comes to the Supreme Court the president, “has prevailed only 47 percent of the time … a worse record than that of his predecessors going back at least as far as Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
Trump fares even worse at the lower court level, Marcus explained.
“The New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity has calculated that just 14 percent of the Trump administration’s regulatory actions were upheld against challenges in the lower courts — the rest were blocked or withdrawn. Trump’s recent predecessors have tended to win on regulatory matters at least 60 percent of the time,” she wrote before returning to Trump’s census case smackdown.
Calling the census case possibly “the most flagrantly unlawful action of all,” Marcus wrote, “Trump’s proclamation that ‘it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status’ cannot change that. It is a losing argument, from a chronic loser.”
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