President Donald Trump’s “travel ban” has had yet another blow as a panel of three 9th Circuit judges has ruled unanimously to deny a temporary exemption to extended family members. The decision has already incited strong opinion from critics. But is this a fair decision? And does it leave larger questions to be asked about how the American judicial system actually works?
Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald Gould, and Richard Paez, who were all Clinton appointees, released a joint statement defending their decision based on a single case where a mother-in-law was allowed admittance:
“If mothers-in-law clearly fall within the scope of the injunction, then so too should grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins,” the three judges wrote, “The Government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not.”
Was a single person surprised that the 9th Circuit judges ruled against the Trump Administration? Was this a “shock ruling”? Of course not! When people bring these cases they specifically choose the court circuit because they are almost guaranteed to get the result they are after; this is the issue. How can we say that justice has been served when the results are so clearly politically orientated?
We know that the Supreme Court will likely overturn this decision (as they did with the last one), which leaves us facing the reality that different judges see things in completely opposite terms, When a decision is made in courts, we rely on the assumption that the decision is based on facts,
but if judges interpret these facts differently, there must be a factor that separates the ruling; that factor is bias.
Shopping For Justice
This is why special interest groups choose where to file their cases because they know they will get a more preferential decision in certain circuits. How then is this anything like real justice? If a case could really be won on its merits alone, then it wouldn’t make a difference where they filed.
And the judges who made the decision know this. They know the Supreme Court will overturn it, and they know that plaintiffs will continue to approach them about cases that suit their own personal politics. This is neither justice nor impartiality.
And how does this bode for the average person? They have neither the resources to get advice on “friendly jurisdictions” not enough power to have their cases heard by compliant judges. This means we have a clear two tier justice system…And that is no type of justice at all.