Who trumps Trump? A refresher course on checks & balances

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There's a fight brewing between two branches of the U.S. government.

Remember President Trump's controversial executive order that restricted travel from seven countries?  Well, a federal judge in Seattle decided Saturday that, for now, the so-called "ban" can't be enforced.

And the POTUS was not happy about it.

The question is, can a judge really go over the president's head like that?

We asked constitutional attorney Chad Ruback for a refresher course on the checks and balances between the three branches of government; the president, congress, and federal judges.

"The judges get to review everything the president and  Congress do to make sure that it's constitutional," Ruback said. "In granting the temporary restraining order prohibiting President Trump from enforcing his executive order, the Seattle federal judge made clear that he believes this executive order in unconstitutional."

The restraining order effectively nullifies the ban until the court system sorts out its constitutionality. That could take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.  And the SCOTUS decision would be final; deciding what's constitutional is the power of the judiciary branch.

"The judiciary branch - federal judges - have the right," said Ruback, "to trump Trump."

Of course, the president, as the head of the executive branch, is the one with the power to appoint those judges, and the legislative branch - aka congress - gets to approve them.

Congress is also the only branch that can impeach or remove presidents and judges. That's probably the only reason The Donald didn't give that judge one of his trademark firings.

So, the president can make executive orders and appoint judges, judges can strike down orders and laws as unconstitutional, and congress can remove reckless presidents and judges.  Turns out the constitutional system of checks and balances is a little like rock, paper, scissors.  And it's a game we may be hearing about for a while.

"We can't always predict what our president's going to do," Ruback said.  "And we can't always predict what our judges are going to do either. There's a lot to come in this case."

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