We live in strange times. But I still have faith in the judiciary and in lawyers. It took us just over a week of the Trump presidency to reach our first constitutional crisis, and the judiciary seems to be keeping its head. That branch of government will be tested in the months and years to come.

Our President reveres President Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson is perhaps best known for defying a court order so that he could could deport people in massive scale. In response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Worcester v. Georgia, President Jackson said “John Marshal has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” That case was also an injunction case. Six years after the ruling in Worcester, the Cherokee were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in what was one of the darkest moments in American history. The parallels between then and now and between the historic president and the modern one who reveres him are clear.

But I have faith in the judiciary and in the rule of law. Just this weekend, teams of volunteer lawyers showed up at airports around the nation to lend a hand to those left stranded by a bewildering executive order. They turned airport cafes into law offices and e-filed petitions for habeas relief. Lawyers visited with the families of those victimized by recent executive action. And courageous judges stepped up as well. One such judge was Ann M. Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York. Those who know her describe her as one who “will not be perturbed by the storm around her” and as one with “a firm moral compass.”

I can think of no time in our history when lawyers and the judicial branch are more critical to the survival of our Republic. Our nation is still young, and America is still very much an experiment. Lawyers like those who stepped up over the weekend and judges like Ann Donnelly provide hope. But the power of the judiciary and of our constitution is only as strong as the American people and our belief in the rule of law and our founding principles.

Since the Orlando Night Club shooting, Trump and others have criticized the President for not using the magic words “Radical Islam” in discussion of the news. According to NBC News:

When Donald Trump blasted President Obama for failing to make reference to Islam in connection with the Orlando nightclub massacre, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee was renewing a longstanding criticism of the White House’s carefully calibrated rhetoric about terrorism.

Obama “disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’,” Trump said in a statement Sunday. “For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency.”

Trump repeated his criticism on TODAY Monday morning, saying Obama was “not addressing the issue, he’s not calling it what it is.”

Although the Orlando gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS, Obama didn’t mention Islam in his remarks about the mass shooting Sunday. In televised remarks at the White House Monday, Obama said the killer had been influenced by “extremist ideology,” but the president did not use the modifier “Islamic.”

This is an interesting argument. Obama uses the word “extremist” instead of referencing “radical Islam,” and the price he should pay is resignation or impeachment. He no longer gets to be President for failing to use those exact words.

And yet neither Mr. Trump nor anybody else asked the President to use similar terms to describe radical militant Christian terrorist Robert Lewis Dear when he acted from motives of, well radical militant Christianity. Mr. Dear went into a Planned Parenthood clinic last Fall where he killed 3 people, including law enforcement. He wounded 9 more in an intensive multi-hour standoff. His motives were purely religious in nature. He called himself a “warrior for the babies.”

The New York Times profile describes his religious views in depth.


A number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent. Ms. Micheau, 60, said in a brief interview Tuesday that late in her marriage to Mr. Dear, he told her that he had put glue in the locks of a Planned Parenthood location in Charleston.

“He was very proud of himself that he’d gone over and jammed up their locks with glue so that they couldn’t get in,” she said.

And, similar to accounts of many Islamic fundamentalists who killed for their faith, he saw holy martyrdom as a goal. A person who knew him said, “she can’t believe he was capable of such things, and I think that’s what’s upsetting her most,” the relative said about Ms. Bragg. “He believed he was doing God’s will, and I’m sure he probably wanted to die in the process of carrying out what I’m sure he thought was right.”

Yet, to read news accounts describing what Mr. Dear did, his actions are seldom described as terrorism (though he certainly is a terrorist). He is described as a mentally ill man who committed a criminal act (which, it appears, he is and did).

But one must look hard to find any description of him as a radical militant Christian. In fact, when pressed, Mr. Trump would not use the words “radical militant Christian.” He said on Meet the Press:

“I think it’s terrible. I mean, terrible. It’s more of the same. And I think it’s a terrible thing. He’s a maniac,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I think he’s a sick person,” he added. “And I think he was probably a person ready to go. We don’t even know the purpose. I mean, he hasn’t come out, to the best of my knowledge, with a statement as to why it happened to be at that location.”

He still has refused to acknowledge that the man who did this awful thing was radical, a Christian, or even a terrorist for that matter. Maybe he should drop out of the race.

Fundamentalism is fundamentalism no matter what the name for God is at the center of it all. And generally if a person is shooting up or blowing up a large group of people, you can bet that he  thinks that his scripture calls for it or God has requested that he do it. When fundamentalist Christians kill for their views, the action is deemed a criminal act by a crazy person. And there seems to be a very nuanced conversation calling into question whether the person was really a Christian, since the New Testament would not really call for actions such as theirs. Yet, when a Muslim commits an act for religious motives, the person is clearly a terrorist acting out the tenets of his faith. And any condemnation of the person’s actions that does not bear witness to this truth is grounds for impeachment.

If one compares The Bible to the Quran, the Bible is a much more violent document, by far. So, perhaps, if we are to ban any group on the basis of religion, we should keep a close eye on Christians (which I am), particularly the Fundamentalists among us. Yet, I don’t expect such a call to come from the presumptive Republican nominee since Christian Fundamentalists are such a big part of the Republican base.