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Checks and Balances 


This week I was listening to a phone-in radio program and a woman from Florida was all worked up about how the courts could dare to overrule President (gulp) Trump who was trying to keep our country safe from immigrants. Hmm, I'll bet that she wasn't paying attention during her high school civics class when the separation of powers in our government was being explained. We are not a monarchy. We are a democratic republic with checks and balances. For that matter, given Trump's vaunted lack of concentration, I'll bet that the lesson did not sink in for him either. So time for a review: We have three branches of government, each with its own mandate. The role of the judiciary, when appealed to, is to review the actions of the other two to make certain that they comport with our Constitution. The judiciary has no army or police to enforce its decisions, but over the last 200 years we have come to accept this important role.

Not all presidents have agreed with this co-equal role. Thomas Jefferson was a critic and attacked Chief Justice Marshall — but he lost that battle. During the Depression, FDR was unhappy with the Supreme Court and tried to "pack" it by adding more justices more amenable to his policies. He also lost. Granted many of us have not been happy with some of our courts' decisions, but we respect the process and try to adjust.

Now back to the issue of taking extreme, paranoid actions to protect us from the supposed "bad guys." I'll bet that the lesson of our failure to accept Jewish refugees and our internment of thousands of Japanese Americans during WWII was lost on our President as well.

Only three years and eleven months left — unless he implodes first.

Edward "Buzz" Webb, McKinleyville

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