- - Sunday, November 5, 2017

U.S. District Court Judge Collen Kollar-Kottelly has engaged in judicial activism (“US court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy,” Web, Oct. 30). The president has broad discretion in the area of national security. President Trump issued an executive order placing a moratorium on transgender military service based on his determinations regarding national security. Judge Kollar-Kottelly overturned major portions of it.

It is the responsibility of the judiciary to determine whether the president has acted within his authority. Judge Kollar-Kottelly’s decision was based on her opinion of the action taken, not the president’s authority to take the action.

Such activism is dangerous when the decisions are contrary to law, established policies and precedent. That has happened with two of Mr. Trump’s executive orders regarding foreign travel to the United States. Presidents have well-established authority to ban foreign nationals based on national security considerations. Presidents Carter and Obama did so, as did earlier chief executives.

If a judicial reversal or modification of an executive order results in negative impact on national security, it is the president who is held accountable. The right of appeal exists, but it takes time and effort. In the interim, substantial harm can occur. Currently a third executive order regarding travel has been enjoined. The administration has indicated that it will appeal. On Oct. 31, a foreign national committed a terrorist attack in New York City, murdering multiple people and injuring others.

To restore balance between the executive and judicial branches, Congress would do well to consider legislation making possible the dismissal of and criminal sanctions against a judge who issues decisions that infringe upon presidential discretion, resulting in negative impact on national security.



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