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US presidents are obliged to protect all US States from invasion by Article 4, Section 4 of US Constitution-NY Sun Editorial, 11/22/18

November 24, 2018

11/22/18, The Trump-Roberts Spat,” Editorial of The New York Sun

Yet the President, who has his own responsibilities in the current conflict, sees the caravan as portending an invasion. That puts him in a position where the Constitution would remove his discretion, giving him not just the power but also the obligation to act, whether he wants to or not. That’s because of Article 4, Section 4, which commands the United States to protect each state against invasion.

Just to mark the point. The Constitution grants to the government the power to do certain things if it wants to. It denies the government the power to do certain other things, even if it wants to. What it does in Article 4, Section 4 is lay on the government the obligation to do certain other things, whether it wants to or not. These are sometimes called the obligation clauses, binding all three branches.

Protecting against invasions, again, is one of the obligations. Besides, it was Judge Tigar who, with his injunction against the president, drew first constitutional blood. Mr. Trump promptly dismissed him as an “Obama judge.” No doubt the country is split as to whether that is a compliment or an insult. All the more startling that Chief Justice Roberts piped up with a statement.

The Chief Justice insisted that America doesn’t have “Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” What we have, he added, “is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.” It’s a fair enough point, though these days even the New York Times identifies judges by the president who appointed them.

More broadly, the idea that United States judges are above criticism is a decidedly un-American conceit. Not un-American in the sense that our noble anti-communists used the word. Rather, un-American in that the prohibition on criticizing judges and courts has its roots in an England from which we declared our independence long ago. For good measure, we threw in the First Amendment.

The pecksniffs at the Brennan Center have published a guide on how to criticize a judge. It considers, say, President Obama’s denunciation of the Supreme Court’s justices to their faces for taking, in Citizens United, a broad view of the First Amendment. That happened at a [televised] State of the Union address. It was, the Brennan Center’s writer suggests, unusual less for its vitriol than its venue, where the Democratic caucus whooped and hollered.

That horrified us, by the way. In the current feud, though, Mr. Trump gave no quarter. “Justice Roberts can say what he wants,” the President twittered, “but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.” The 9th Circuit, Mr. Trump pointed out on Twitter, boasts the highest reversal rate in the country. The sweet irony is that Chief Justice Roberts had something to do with making the President’s point.”

Added: Chief Justice Roberts didn’t publicly criticize Obama for scolding a group of Supreme Court Justices to their faces on national television:

Below, 1/27/2010, Captive US Supreme Court Justices are ambushed on national television by Obama scolding them about a recent decision. That wasn’t all. Most of the chamber of hundreds of Beltway UniParty members jumped to their feet cheering and applauding Obama for berating the captive Justices. 48 million people watched this.

Above, 1/27/2010, “Several justices, in the first two rows, were sitting right in front of the president [Obama] when he attacked the campaign finance ruling. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times”… [Democrat Chuck Schumer seated immediately behind Supreme Court Justices is seen on his feet clapping and smiling for all the world to see.]

Above, 1/27/2010, Obama on televised State of the Union address ambushes Supreme Court Justices sitting in front rows, scolds them for a recent decision. Justices were captive, couldn’t get up and leave, and remained mute. Screen shot from AP video, 1/27/2010. Justices aren’t obligated to attend these addresses.

Above, screen shot from AP video, 1/27/2010

1/28/2010, “Supreme Court Gets a Rare Rebuke, in Front of a Nation,” NY Times, Adam Liptak, Washington


Among comments to above article at


Reply 1 – Posted by: earlybird, 11/23/2018 6:29:30 PM   

So it’s a “spat”. CJ [Justice John] Roberts said something supremely stupid and unseemly for a person in his position. President Trump has not let him get away with it. President Trump is winning this one.”


“Reply 3 – Posted by: 0658, 11/23/2018 6:56:51 PM    

[Chief Justice] Roberts seems to be an integral part of the Swamp. Never anything bad about a liberal or their policies. Never anything positive about conservatives or President Trumps policies.

Where was he when 0bama criticized Scalia. Where he is in the FISA issue. Where is he when it comes to the abuse of the system by the 9th Circus and their abysmal record of reversed cases.

It is time for him to step up and fix his own issues before condemning others.”

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