Shouldn't he have recused himself if he is not competent to judge on the subject?
Judge Freidman blocked investigations into Al Gore's buddhist temple fundraising. Also he was an assistant to Lawrence Walsh in Iran-contra investigation. He was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton. His best known decision is FEC v. GOPAC, 897 F.Supp. 615 (DDC 1995), in which he ruled against GOPAC. Judge Friedman was also an attorney in the law firm of White and Case for almost two decades.
This whole thread is ironic in the extreme. What actually happened is that the judge "recused" the judicial branch from this case because this is a command question for the President. The plaintiff tried to get the judicial branch to limit the President's authority as C-in-C, and the judge didn't buy it. Certain court cases are deemed "political questions" that courts will not take, because they belong in the Executive and/or Legislative Branches.
Extreme example -- the President orders a Marine Regiment to be placed under Chinese Command and sent to Tibet to help suppress an uprising. If the Marine General Commanding refuses to follow orders from the President to obey the Chicoms, he's committing mutiny. If he goes to court, he'll lose. The issue has to be decided politically -- in this extreme case, Congress would no doubt step in and cut off funding immediately. But it's not an issue to be decided by a judge. If it was, then the judicial branch would be the C-in-C, not the President.
Judicial restraint always sounds better when it restrains court actions you don't agree with. It's tougher when it stops actions you want.
Ping to the lawyers -- did I get this right?
The term "competence of the court" is a legal term referring to the court's jurisdiction. He said that the issue is outside the scope of the court's authority.