'Who did Amber Rudd think she was? No special rules about court orders apply to her.’ Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

If Amber Rudd can’t explain why she defied the courts, she should go

Article in The Guardian
20 September, 2017

The Home Minister will not apologise for violating three direct court orders. Defying the courts on migrants’ rights has become frequent in nationalist populist governments. Ministers think they have electoral support to denounce as illegitimate the constitutional protection that judges recognise to foreigners. Canada had an Immigration Minister who once famously said that, in applying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in favour of migrants, courts were preventing him from protecting Canadian citizens. And an American president recently talked about the “ridiculous” opinion of a “so-called judge” who had suspended his ill-conceived travel ban! An odd conception of justice, indeed

“Amber Rudd confused herself with a 16th-century monarch last week, seemingly believing she has a divine right to rule, irrespective of the law. Three times the courts told her to return Samim Bigzad, a 23-year-old asylum seeker who was cowering in a hotel room in Kabul, threatened with beheading by the Taliban. Three times she refused, thinking she knew best and the courts had got it wrong. It displayed a disdainful arrogance for the courts and the law. Unless she has an explanation, she has to go as home secretary. And the person who has a duty to see that the home secretary operates within the rule of law is the lord chancellor, David Lidington. This is as much a test of him as it is of her….

Amber Rudd is like everybody else in this country. She has to obey the courts. And of all the people who have a critical duty to obey court orders, it is the executive. Without the means of holding the executive to account there is no means of ensuring that it is the rule of law that prevails, rather than rule by the decree of ministers or civil servants.”

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