Remember when the Supreme Court was an important issue during the 2016 Presidential Election? Many people did not want Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to determine Justice Scalia’s replacement. Even though they haven’t, they still largely influence the federal courts. In some ways, they would have more influence if they had their SCOTUS pick.
In 2017, shortly after Trump was inaugurated, he issued an executive order that restricted travel to and from “high-risk” countries. Afterwards, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and his Attorney General filed a lawsuit and won.
Even though the Constitution designates national security policy to the President, one governor was able to change federal law through the courts.
*Update (6/26/2018: The U.S Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Trump’s travel restrictions and turned down all the legal challenges against it*)
This Election & the Judicial Branch
Heading into the 2018 campaign, Inslee is the Chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). This demonstrates that the Democratic Party is focusing on making laws through the Judicial branch.
Governors are an important tool for this and the upcoming gubernatorial elections are as important as—if not more than—the ones for Congress. Inslee’s legacy in the Evergreen State gives us a glimpse of what the Democrats’ new vision for America is.
The DGA Chair supported Washington State Supreme Court (WASC) decisions that raised taxes, mandated public spending programs, and overturned popularly supported measures. They are already doing this on a federal level through sanctuary state policies and endless lawsuits against Trump’s decisions.
At this point, the only thing that separates them from challenging the new tax law is the Supreme Court.
But a president who thinks like Inslee, backed by an army of Jerry Browns (California’s current governor), can steer the country towards a judicial dictatorships, regardless of who or what the public votes for in the future.
This November, there are 26 Republican governors up for re-election and only 15 Democrats. Amongst the gubernatorial mansions that the GOP needs to retain are Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, and other left-leaning states.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have to keep a hold on California, New York, Oregon, Minnesota amongst more reliably blue states.
This is the Democratic Party’s best opportunity in 2018 to make reasonable gains against the GOP. In the Senate, the states up for grabs and number of seats each party has to defend largely favor the Republicans. The minority party needs to defend 23 states, many of which are conservative and advocated for Trump in 2016.
The GOP, on the other hand, will only defend 8 seats, the majority of them in already solid red states. The only exception is Nevada, which is a swing state.
Power From the People
Shortly before challenging Trump’s executive order, Inslee kicked-off his second term by supporting the McLeary Decision, in which the Washington State Supreme Court ruling significantly raised property taxes state-wide to raise funds for public education.
Inslee and other Washington Democrats favor many other similar decisions. This is despite the fact that judicial branch has no business regulating the economy or increasing taxes. That’s the job of the legislature, the House and the Senate on both the federal and state levels.
Things were even worse when we look back to 2012, when the majority of Washington voters cast their ballot in favor of I-1053. The initiative required a two-thirds majority vote of the state legislature in order to increase taxes.
After the proposal passed, Inslee challenged it and the Washington State Supreme Court (WASC) overturned the result. Ironically, the Evergreen State’s governor called the initiative “undemocratic.”
Over the past several decades, Democrats like Inslee have deprived the voters of Eastern Washington of their say. They are now doing so nationally. If they gain seats in the governor’s mansions this November, it will be a big step towards a court system that is much too powerful.
In the 2018 election, the crucial fight will be on the gubernatorial level. The results will be reflected in the judicial branch.
Haitham al Mhana is a Lead Contributor at the DailyLead.