US checks and balances stifle Trump; courts block travel ban

(6 February 2017) After giving up the freewheeling celebrity lifestyle of a billionaire businessman, Donald Trump is facing a more constrained range of action in his new job as president.   His controversial travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim nations has been put on hold by a Washington state judge who declared Trump's executive order did not adhere to the principles of the Constitution.

However deep his authoritarianian impulses may run (thanks to his angular Mars), Trump must now learn to work within the US political system with its elaborate system of checks and balances.  The US Constitution was written specifically to prevent a dictatorship as power is divided between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.  The Trump administration has appealed the stay of the judge but it is unclear when the case will finally be settled.  Many observers now think it could go up to the Supreme Court within weeks, if not days, in order to produce clarity on the matter.

Aside from the very predictable uphill (read: Saturnian) battles Trump is facing here, it is worthwhile to examine Trump's potential relationship with the courts from an astrological perspective. Can the courts keep the racist extremes of his "America First" agenda in check over the course of his four-year term?  More specifically, will Trump's executive order eventually be upheld by the split Supreme Court or will the ninth pro-Trump judge have to be appointed first?  I'm not sure astrology can answer all of these questions but some insights are still possible.

Using the horoscope of the US Supreme Court (i.e. "SCOTUS") dated September 24, 1789, we can see that there is a significant potential for conflict and disputes with Trump.  The overlay of the two charts shows that Trump's Sun (29 Taurus) and Moon (28 Scorpio) are closely squared by the SCOTUS Saturn (28 Aquarius).  Since Saturn represents tradition and accepted norms and precedents, this tense aspect with Saturn strongly hints that Trump's wishes and actions are more likely to be thwarted by the judiciary.  The courts will therefore more likely act as a brake on his executive excesses.  As a rule, we would expect more supportive court rulings for Trump only if there were several aspects involving benefics like Jupiter, Venus and Mercury to his natal planets. 

But this isn't the case.  In fact, there are a few close aspects involving malefics that indicate to me that Trump will more often have an adversarial relationship with the courts throughout his administration.  This is perhaps to be expected given Trump's desire to break with the status quo and change the system, but the planets do paint a picture of opposition and conflict.  The SCOTUS Mars (3 Cancer) is conjunct Trump's Venus-Saturn conjunction in the 12th house of loss and secrets.  This may be interpreted a few different ways but I would say: 1) it suggests the courts will act in opposition to Trump's goals and 2) there could be many landmark and historic interactions with the courts over the next four or eight years.   In other words, this Muslim travel ban is only the beginning of what should be a tense relationship with the judiciary.

We can also see that the SCOTUS Mercury-Neptune conjunction (0 Libra) is tightly square Trump's Saturn (0 Cancer).  The Mercury-Neptune conjunction may symbolize the abstract ideals of justice in the US system and they will likely be inimical to Trump's plans (Saturn).   Yes, the Mercury-Neptune does align more positively with Trump's Sun-Rahu conjunction but I don't see this as helping Trump's legal outcomes too much since Rahu is an unreliable source of benefits.  It may mean that Trump will try to disrupt and fundamentally change (Rahu) the court system, but the weight of the other aspects suggest it will be an unsuccessful struggle for him. 

It's not all bad news for Trump, however, as the court's Jupiter is close to his Mars and Ascendant.  This should give him some benefits and victories along the way.  He may well eventually get his appointee Neil Gorsuch installed on the bench, for example.  And the SCOTUS Venus (12 Libra) is also nicely placed in Trump's chart in the 3rd house which could give Trump some useful advantages when discussing or communicating legal affairs with the American people.  The 3rd house rules communication. 

As for the travel ban, we could see a period of uncertainty last well into March and April.  I have previously noted how the Saturn retrograde station at 3 Sagittarius in early April will impact President Trump's chart given the exact 120 degree alignment.   Saturn-Mars alignments suggest stress, intense efforts, and usually more than a little frustration.  Interestingly, this Saturn station will also be prominent in the SCOTUS chart as it forms a 210 degree ("quincunx") angle with the natal Mars at 3 Cancer.   The station occurs on April 6th so it is tempting to think that this judicial process may remain unsettled until at least that date.  Since Trump's chart looks difficult, I tend to think the travel ban will be struck down.  From the SCOTUS chart, it is harder to get a clearly confirmatory picture, however.  The April Saturn station may also refer to troubles arising from the Gorsuch hearings. 

Previous landmark cases often occur when important planets in the SCOTUS chart come under heavy affliction.  This was very much the case, for example,  in Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion on January 22, 1973.  Saturn and Mars both aligned with the Moon (intense emotions) in this chart and transiting Pluto was exactly conjunct the Sun (power brought to bear on a situation).  Uranus was also conjunct the Mercury-Neptune conjunction indicating major and sudden changes.  The planetary afflictions reflect the intensity of feelings and political interests in the case which was controversial at the time and quite divisive.  It still is a sore point for many conservatives who are seeking to overturn it, possibly after the Trump administration appoints more pro-life judges to the court in the years to come. 

And we have some similar afflictions now in the SCOTUS chart.  Besides the near-exact Saturn-Mars alignment in March and April, we will see a close opposition aspect of Uranus to the Mercury-Neptune conjunction.  Uranus is a planet of independence and change so we could see the Supreme Court acting in an unexpected way.  A sense of rebelliousness and surprise is even more likely since it is the opposition aspect rather than the conjunction.  Depending on how the case evolves, this could be interpreted either way.  However, the independent quality in this transit makes me wonder if the court will manage to avoid following the administration's lead in this case and rule against the travel ban.  If on the other hand, the travel ban is resolved more quickly in February, then those tense April alignments would more likely refer to the Gorsuch hearings.  The stressful nature of the alignments suggest that confirmation is unlikely, or perhaps only after an unusually long delay. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks remain quite strong after the Fed issued a fairly dovish statement last week and Friday's US jobs report beat expectations.  While we did see some early week declines on the Moon-Mars conjunction, stocks rallied after that as Mercury aligned with Jupiter.  US stocks were down only fractionally.  As I suggested in last week's market forecast, Indian stocks rose following last Wednesday's budget release. Gold also rallied as the Dollar weakened on a reduced likelihood of aggressive Fed rate hikes this year.

This week is a mixed bag.  Jupiter's retrograde station on Monday has had a hand at boosting some stocks and commodities thus far.  However, I would think some midweek declines are more likely.  The late week looks bullish again as the Sun is aspected by Jupiter.  Taking a somewhat longer view, I would expect some positive outcomes for stocks in February as Jupiter approaches its alignment with Uranus later this month.   This Jupiter-Uranus alignment should have a protective effect on stocks and further gains are quite possible.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.