The dog that caught the car

WEDNESDAY and another court reversal for President Trump when a federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order against the new travel ban just hours before it was due to come into effect. Judge Derrick Watson said “the illogic of the government’s contentions is palpable”. The judge quoted the words of Trump and some of his key advisors in making the ruling: this did not deter the President from immediately further hindering his cause by denouncing the judge at a rally in Nashville, calling the ruling “an unprecedented judicial overreach”. Not content with that, Trump claimed the revised travel ban was just “a watered-down version” of the original and told the crowd “we’re going to fight this terrible ruling. We’re going to take this as far as we need to, right up to the Supreme Court”.

THIS LATEST SET-BACK is another example of ‘the dog that finally caught the car’, a phrase that has been much-used by commentators in the US in relation to the new Republican administration. This refers to the story of the old dog who for years chased after cars in the street where he lived, only to be at a loss over what to do when he finally caught up with one. The most prominent legal example of this is the attempt to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) which has been a subject of loathing for the GOP for 8 years. Judging by the rowdy town hall meetings Republican senators have been facing across the country, this might be one car they wish they hadn’t chased quite so hard.

CLOSER TO HOME the Brexit dog has certainly caught the car and the Prime Minister is the harassed owner trying unsuccessfully to bring the hound under control.

ANOTHER CANINE pursuer set off this week with the Scottish Government’s announcement of its intention to hold a second independence referendum. Here at the Signet Library, Walter has never been a car chaser. Walter favours quiet reflection and an evidence-based approach, inspired by the Enlightenment spirit of his daytime abode.  

SCOTS LAWYERS will have been bemused by the UK Supreme Court’s ruling this week, in an English case, upholding the right of a parent to disinherit their children. The case was taken by three animal charities ‘largely on principle’ to prevent an estranged daughter from sharing more than the £50,000 awarded at first instance from her mother’s £500,000 estate. Mrs Melita Jackson died aged 70 in 2004, cutting her daughter out of any inheritance and leaving her whole estate to the three charities. Mrs Jackson specifically instructed her solicitors to contest any claim by her daughter from whom she was estranged after her daughter eloped aged 17 in 1978 with the man to whom she is still married with five children. The ruling reflects the English law tradition of protecting the absolute right of an owner to dispose of their property as they see fit. In contrast, Scots law traditionally recognises community of property within the family. In Scotland, Mrs Jackson’s daughter would have been entitled to half her moveable estate regardless of the terms of her mother’s will.

THEY SAY you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but Muirfield Golf Club has finally voted to admit women members, following last year’s much derided decision to continue to refuse this right. Cynics would suggest the decision was governed more by the loss of the status of being an Open Championship course rather than some late-flowering #HeForShe activism within the ranks of the current membership.

— “Writer”

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