No one’s above the law, not even the president

TWO defeats out of two court battles, and Donald Trump is learning the hard way that in the United States, no one is above the law.

No one is above the law and the Constitution — even if you were a celebrity who could grope a woman’s genitals and do anything because of your celebrity status; not even if you were a political candidate who said you could shoot somebody and still have your diehard fans voting for you; not even when you are the president catapulted to the highest office in the land because you won the Electoral College contest, despite the fact that nearly three million more Americans voted for your political opponent.

In a unanimous 3-0 vote by three judges picked by past presidents from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court refused to reinstate President Trump’s travel ban.

“The government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the decision stipulated.

This decision affirmed the vote of the federal judge in Washington state — appointed by Republican President George Bush — who blocked President Trump’s controversial travel ban.

The appeals court’s decision brought forth one important lesson in civics that even the president, who has the duty to protect the nation, is subject to judicial and even congressional review — the very system of checks and balances stipulated and mandated by the Constitution so that not one of the three co-equal branches of government will abuse its  respective powers.

“Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all,” the judges wrote.

According to the appeals court, Trump’s travel ban failed to prove that there is an imminent and real threat to national security that cannot otherwise be thwarted by the more stringent vetting process already put in place by the Obama administration to screen immigrants and visitors coming from the seven Muslim-dominated countries included in the travel ban for 90 days, as well as the refugees banned from entering the U.S. for 120 days, with Syrian refugees indefinitely banned.

The Ninth Circuit Court judges pointed out in its decision that while “the public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies…the public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination.”

In defiant response to the ruling, Trump tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

Trump also said that he will either write a new executive order or rewrite the one already reviewed and blocked by both the federal court and the Ninth Circuit Court. The issue may even be brought all the way up to the Supreme Court.

What must Trump do now moving forward?

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to,

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