The Article published by the Politicus on 26 April 2017 describes Donald Trump’s response to the ruling by a federal district judge that blocks his executive order halting funding to sanctuary cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
According to this Article, the official White House statement claims that “Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation,” and cited “egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge.”
What the judge said was that,
“Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump attacked an American judge of Mexican descent, Gonzalo Curiel, who was handling a Trump University fraud case, claiming that Gonzalo Curiel could not fairly adjudicate the because of his ethnic heritage.
In early February 2017, U.S. Judge James Robart was the first jurist to come under fire from the president since he took office after his temporary order to lift Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
In a reaction that went viral on Twitter, Trump called the 69-year-old Robart a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” opinion “essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country.”
As far as I know, legal definition of “Contempt of Court” is actions which either defy a court’s authority, cast disrespect on a court, or impede the ability of the court to perform its function.
Generally, however,contempt proceedings are categorised as civil or criminal, and direct or indirect.
Civil contempt generally involves the failure to perform an act that is ordered by a court as a means to enforce the rights of individuals or to secure remedies for parties in a civil action. Criminal contempt involves behaviour that assaults the dignity of the court or impairs the ability of the court to conduct its work. Criminal contempt can occur within a civil or criminal case.
A direct contempt is an act that occurs in the presence of the court and is intended to embarrass or engender disrespect for the court.
Indirect contempt occurs outside the presence of the court, but its intention is also to belittle, mock, obstruct, interrupt, or degrade the court and its proceedings.
There are essentially two types of contempt: a) being rude, disrespectful to the judge or other attorneys or causing a disturbance in the courtroom, particularly after being warned by the judge; b) willful failure to obey an order of the court.
The court’s power to punish for contempt (called “citing” one for contempt) includes fines and/or jail time (called “imposing sanctions”). Incarceration is generally just a threat and if imposed, usually brief.
The essence of contempt of court is that the misconduct impairs the fair and efficient administration of justice. Contempt statutes generally require that the actions present a Clear and Present Danger that threatens the administration of justice.
The manner in which an act is committed or the tone in which words are spoken can determine whether contempt has occurred. Circumstances, such as the context in which the words were spoken, the tone, the facial expression, the manner,and the emphasis, are also evaluated by the court.
Failure to complete an act that, if completed, would tend to bring the court into disrespect does not preclude the act from being contemptuous.
On April 12, 1999, President William Jefferson Clinton became the first sitting president in United States history to be held in contempt of court.
Judge Wright found the president in contempt for giving “false, misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process” at a deposition over which she personally presided. Jones v. Clinton, 36 F. Supp.2d 1118 (E.D. Ark. 1999).
Although Clinton maintained that his “inti-mate” relationship with Lewinsky did not constitute”sexual” relations, Wright said that it is difficult to construe “the president’s sworn statements … as anything other than a willful refusal to obey this court’s discovery orders.” Jones v. Clinton 36 F. Supp. 2d 1118 (E.D. Ark. 1999).
I think that Donald Trump’s actions are much more substantial, both in number and content. His actions were obviously disrespectful to the judges and questioned the efficiency of administration of justice. His tweets display high potential Trump’s intention to belittle, mock, obstruct, interrupt, or degrade the court and its proceedings. Besides the above, his statement that Gonzalo Curiel could not fairly adjudicate the because of his ethnic heritage, in my opinion, is racially charged.
In addition, the content of the White House statement is enough for the entire Trump’s administration to be held in contempt of court.
I might be wrong, but it appears that Trump’s list provides with more reasons for him to be held in contempt of court than Bill Clinton’s case. Unless someone can prove beyond reasonable doubt that oral sex which Clinton had with Lewinsky represents substantially bigger threat than Trump’s actions, it is unclear why, so far, Donald Trump has not been held accountable.
MSNBC reports that a crowdsourced investigation of the inaugural committee’s financial report found widespread errors and misrepresentations, including one donor whose listed address is an empty lot in New Jersey.