Friday, February 3, 2017

Listen: today was a good day.

When I say that it was a good day, I don't mean that it was perfect.  Bad things happened.

Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos was voted out of committee and is headed for a floor vote, and it's going to take all of our effort to flip one last Republican senator (there will be a Do post tomorrow on that).  Trump also issued an order to rescind the fiduciary rule, the regulation on financial planners that requires them to invest in their client's best interest, rather than their own.  It's an almost cartoonishly evil, indefensible thing to do.  And they're getting set to tear down Dodd-Frank, which is an insane thing to do to a law that's barely adequate as it stands.  And of course, there's the continuing fall-out from the Muslim ban... tens of thousands of legal migrants lost their visas for no reason but brute prejudice.

But let's be frank: we lost the election, the GOP controls Congress and the executive, and it's the second week of a new presidency.  We should be losing.  A lot.  Far more than this, actually.

And so we should appreciate that today was a good day.

I'm not talking about the little things.  Yes, it's good that the White House's continuing P.R. nightmare has stretched on for another news cycle, as Kellyanne Conway made an embarrassing error and fabricated a non-existent "Bowling Green Massacre" to justify the Muslim ban.  Yes, it's good that the last jobs report of Obama's presidency was yet another good-not-great one,

No, today was a good day because one of the numerous federal cases proceeding against the monstrously mishandled Muslim ban has resulted in a restraining order, nationwide.  And I'm not sure people appreciate the consequences of that.

It was a thumb in the eye of the Trump administration, and yet another sign of the incompetence with which the Muslim ban was enacted.  As the blog Lawfare noted, the way the ban was implemented provided a target-rich environment, since it's so difficult to defend in court.  It makes them look bad. But more than that.

It's more than that... It's this:

All key sections of the order (3c, 5a, 5b, 5c, and 5e) are enjoined -- they won't be enforced.  This says a lot about the chances that the ban is going to have once litigation is finished, at least in this particular court (in Seattle).  Judge Robart, the Bush 43-appointee hearing the case there, is indicating that the case against the law has a very substantial chance of success.  The whole thing might well be struck down.  But more than that.

The visa ban is halted and can't be enforced (3c).  The refugee ban is halted and can't be enforced (5a-e).  Listen to me now as I tell you what this order means, and listen good:

Thanks to the ruling today, there are some people in the world who were going to die, and now they will live.

We saved lives tonight... You and me and everyone who donated.

The way this order shakes out isn't entirely clear.  It was oral, issued from the bench, and the written version hasn't even been released.  But unless I am badly mistaken or the administration defies the rule of law... some lives were saved tonight.

Today was a good day.

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