A recent Court of Appeals casegarnered much attention due to the court’s outrage at being ignored. In that case,Baez-Sanchez originally applied for a specialized visa that required a waiver. The request first went to an immigration judge, then to the Board of Immigration Appeals, back to the immigration judge, back to the Board, then to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Board with instructions.

While this case was a blatant and egregious example of the Court’s authority is ignored, and one that the Court has every right to be outraged over, it seems to be the latest example in an increasingly common occurrence. More recently, Chief Justice Roberts felt the need to respond to an attack on the Court by Senator Schumer. Just weeks before that, President Trump attacked two of the Justices for language in a dissent. Agencies appear to be more willing to ignore the implications of a ruling if it goes against a set policy.

After the ruling in the case of the Mattie Carter Trust, the IRS issued a memo plainly stating that it would ignore the Court’s decision in all future cases. In the vast majority of tax cases, the IRS is the final arbitrator of what the law is. Only a few select cases go before the courts, either due to the amount of tax liability in question, the specific facts, the time involved, or the taxpayer’s ability. So when the IRS comes out and states that it will not follow the court’s ruling in future cases, it is the same as saying the IRS believes it is above the rules of the court.  But the IRS is not always so public about its hubris. A string of cases, the latest of which was issued in December, shows that the IRS continues to reject the standards set forth by the courts in an attempt to use its own. While the IRS has not publicly stated that they are doing this, the string of cases stretching over two decades shows that the IRS is not relenting in its position.

While not necessarily coordinated, this systematic series of attacks by multiple parties from the other branches of the government is troubling. If it were only the administration attempting to limit the power of the judiciary, then the legislature could act as the arbitrator. Likewise, if it were the legislature attacking the courts, then the administration could step-in. Instead, we have both the legislature and the administration attacking the judiciary because it is a safe and easy target. These are not instances of the courts ruling incorrectly and the other branches working together to make a correction. That would be valid, but would also be public and organized. Instead, this is a series of ambushes against an opponent that does not want to play politics.