Was The Judicial Branch Removed From The White House's Official Website?

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Many social media users noticed that one of the three branches of the U.S. government was strikingly absent from The White House's website on Sunday evening. Indeed, the judicial branch is missing completely from the website and is not listed alongside the executive and legislative branches in the "Our Government" section of the site. Update: On Monday, the judicial branch section of the White House website had reappeared.

Social media users were seemingly aghast at the discovery, which comes on the heels of the federal judiciary issuing several stays on President Trump's highly controversial executive order on immigration and refugees this weekend. The stays, which have been issued by several federal judges throughout the country, block refugees and immigrants currently being detained in airports in the United States (in accordance with the new executive order) from being deported.

While it is certainly striking that the judicial branch's page is missing during such a high profile situation between the executive branch and the judicial branch, it is possible that it is all just coincidence. According to The Hill, the Judicial Branch page has been missing since the day after Trump's inauguration. According to Gizmodo, it is likely that the deletion of the page is merely an oversight in transitioning the website from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, and not something more "nefarious."

The lack of mention of the judicial branch is not the first time that the Trump administration has encountered controversy for the content of its website, specifically in terms of what is missing. Shortly after inauguration, White House web pages on climate change and civil rights, as well as the Spanish language White House website, were all removed from the Trump White House's online presence.

While the above-described deletions are not necessarily the same thing as not including an entire branch of the United States government on the White House website, the occurrence of several deletions of key pages, whether intentional or not, has likely done little to engender trust from many Americans.

It would serve the Trump administration well to address why exactly any reference to the judicial branch in the governance section is missing from the website. While the branch's absence could absolutely be an unintentional oversight, in light of other page deletions and the current executive-judicial tension sparked by Trump's executive order, it would be prudent to diminish uncertainty, explain why the judicial branch page is missing, and (of course) ultimately put it back up on the website.