Steve Bannon is walking through the thicket of the federal judiciary

Abcarian: Steve Bannon discovers the hard way that defying Congress is no joke. (1:48)

WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon is about to go through a big test: He’s walking through the thicket of the federal judiciary and he’s not sure he can get through.

The president’s son-in-law, the former White House chief strategist, has never been to court before in his life. Nor has he ever come close to facing a federal judge, much less winning a major case while running for president, and then losing. His biggest case, a defamation suit brought against him by the former White House deputy press secretary, is still before the judge. He has yet to take a bite of pizza or get a drink of water inside the federal building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

That’s the real world for Mr. Bannon, who is weighing whether to try to take his case to the Supreme Court, where he has a shot of winning it, or to the appeals court that has already rejected the lawsuit.

The decision to appeal could signal the end of his presidential campaign. Mr. Bannon will have no shortage of distractions. He is about to become the subject of FBI and congressional investigation after the White House expelled him from its social media council last week over a reported Twitter account that tweeted disparaging messages about Hillary Clinton and her family.

His decision to appeal could also signal the end of the Trump campaign itself. The first round of fundraising, the group of donors led by Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, appears to be over. The second round, which began late last week, might be the hardest. Mr. Bannon is expected to be back on the trail in the fall, and he’s still expected to be joined on that stage by another key Trump loyalist: Stephen Bannon, the ousted White House chief strategist, who was fired because he was a self-promoting troublemaker.

Mr. Bannon is a complicated man, with a chec

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