We made the mistake of watching the news this past week and found out that the big argle-bargle lately is about the executive order issued by President Trump. He wanted to stop immigration from a certain number of countries for a certain period of time. We think it was six or seven countries and for a couple of months. Rumors that he also wanted to deport the rock band “Foreigner” were quickly denied by administration sources.
Then officials of certain states out west, Washington is one of them, went to court to stop the enforcement of the order. We never heard of states going to court to stop an immigration order before, and our guess probably isn’t any better than yours, but we thought we’d take a whack at figuring out what it was all about. So we asked a woman we know who has watched like three dozen “Law and Order” marathons, and here’s what we came up with:
First, what’s the deal with states suing the president? As we understand it, their rationale was that the state affiliated colleges in their states would be harmed economically – we suppose by lost tuition revenue – if students from the affected countries were not allowed into the US to attend their colleges. This gave them what lawyers call “standing.” If you were an official from a state with no colleges, you couldn’t sue because you wouldn’t have standing, at least of the lost-tuition kind. Come to think of it, though, anybody could get “standing” if all you have to show is some economic impact. Pennsylvania is up to its keister in colleges, so we’re in right there. But even if we weren’t, we could probably get standing by pointing out that the excluded immigrants might have used the PA turnpike to get to their colleges, wherever they might be, so there’s some toll money we missed out on. They also might’ve swung by the Waterfront for some chipped ham or smiley cookies, or to the Triangle for a sub, so Munhall, Homestead, West Homestead and Swissvale could pile on too.
Okay, we’ve got “standing”, so now what? Once you have standing then you have to show why the order is no good, as in unconstitutional or whatever. This is how the argument seemed to go down:
The Washington state lawyers The order discriminates against Muslims because the countries it affects are mostly Muslim.
The Trump lawyers It just so happens that the countries are those that 1) have had their government offices blown up, like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya; 2) are basket cases like Somalia and Sudan or, 3) have sworn to kill us like Iran. We want to have a time out for immigration from those countries because it’s impossible to determine who the people are who are coming in from them. Also, there are a couple of hundred million Muslims who don’t live in them so it’s like totally not a Muslim ban.
The Washington state lawyers Is too!
Judge Yeah, is too! Unless you can prove it isn’t and, by the way, what about all the stuff the president said when he was running for president? Huh?
The Trump lawyers C’mon, you don’t expect us to show you all the cool secret CIA and FBI and NSA stuff, do you? Also, do you have any idea the deplorable things people say when they’re running for president? We’re going to appeal.
Judge and Washington state lawyers Knock yourself out!
So they did appeal, and here’s what happened:
Appeal judges Nice try, Trump lawyers, but we agree with that first judge. So unless you tell us all the reasons why you picked those countries and prove they’re as bad as all that, we’re not going to let you carry out that order.
So now it looks like the first judge is back in charge, and how cool is that? Because this gives us an idea. You might not realize it, but we have judges just like that first one right here. They’re called Federal District judges, and there are a bunch of them in the Courthouse down on Grant Street. So what if we sue the president and get one of the judges to take over part of the government. We could say we were suing on behalf of aliens, but not the immigrant kind. We could sue on behalf of the extraterrestrial kind. Haven’t you always wanted to take a spin through the government’s files on UFO’s and captured aliens? Now all we need is a lawyer, but don’t bother trying Edgar. He already hung up on us.
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