ROGER KIMBALL: Lack of Judicial Impartiality Threatens Rule of Law.
Why do judges wear black robes? It’s a question few judges today seem to be asking themselves.
It certainly appears not to have troubled the mind of Chief Judge Roger Gregory of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals who, it seems, must instead be a student of Jorge Luis Borges. A couple of days ago, Judge Gregory, writing for the majority, upheld a lower court’s decision against President Trump’s revised Executive Order imposing a temporary travel ban from a handful of countries identified as hotbeds of terrorist activity. As Byron York points out, the decision broke 10 to 3 along partisan lines: the 10 judges who decided against the travel ban were appointed by Presidents Clinton or Obama, the 3 judges who supported the ban were appointed by one of the Bushes.
The rank partisanship on display is as disgusting as it is worrisome: a partisan judiciary is not a judicious judiciary. It is, on the contrary, a judiciary that dispenses its decisions based not on what you have done or left undone but on who you are. It is a government of men, not laws.
But the most extraordinary thing about the majority decision is not its partisanship but the personal nature of the opinion it expresses. It applies to Donald Trump and to Donald Trump only.
Once again, people who consider Donald Trump too impulsive, emotional, and vindictive to be President are instead revealing those qualities in themselves, and in the institutions they control and represent.
So far, the defining feature of the Trump presidency has been the exposure of how hollow our institutions have become. In trying to delegitimize him, they demonstrate their own illegitimacy.
Related: Fake Law, Fake Judges.