Trump demands some common sense from America’s judges

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday

demanded some “common sense” from America’s

judges and directed his ire at a liberal-leaning

appeals court.

He also professed respect for Chief Justice

John Roberts, with whom he is engaged in a startling

public dispute over the independence of the

judiciary, yet shrugged off the Republican appointee

as someone who “can say what he wants.”

Trump, still annoyed over Monday’s decision

by a President Barack Obama-nominated judge,

began his Thanksgiving Day by asserting on Twitter

that courts should defer to his administration

and law enforcement on border security because

judges “know nothing about it and are making

our Country unsafe.”

The president, spending the holiday in Florida,

later told reporters that law enforcers and military

service members he has sent to the U.S.-Mexico

border “can’t believe the decisions that are being

made by these judges.”

Trump has gone after federal judges before

who have ruled against him, but the current dustup

is the first time that Roberts, the leader of the

federal judiciary, has offered even a hint of criticism

of the president.

Roberts issued a strongly worded statement

Wednesday defending “judicial independence”

and contradicting Trump’s assertion that judges

are partisans allied with the party of the president

who nominated them.

It is highly unusual for a president to single out

judges for personal criticism and a chief justice’s

challenge to a president’s comments is unprecedented

in modern times.

In challenging a co-equal branch of government,

Trump complains that his opponents file

lawsuits in courts that are part of the left-leaning

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That’s where an

appeal of the recent asylum ruling would normally


It’s not unusual for those challenging a president’s

policies to sue in courts they consider likely

to back their claims.

“Everybody files in the 9th Circuit,” he said. “I

think we’re going to have stop that somehow. The

judges are going to have to get together or Congress

is going to have to get together and stop it

because they’re taking advantage of our country.”

“I like him and I respect him,” Trump said

about Roberts, “but I think we have to use some

common sense. The 9th Circuit, everybody knows

that it’s totally out of control.”

Trump began the holiday by tweeting that

Roberts “can say what he wants,

but the 9th Circuit is a complete &

total disaster.”

He even raised the topic during

his call to service members, saying

the 9th Circuit “has become a big

thorn in our side. … It’s a terrible

thing when judges take over your

protective services, when they tell

you how to protect the border. It’s

a disgrace.”

With Roberts’ court feeling the

heat over the president’s appointment of Justice

Brett Kavanaugh, Roberts and several of his colleagues

have gone out of their way to rebut perceptions

of the court as a political institution divided

between five conservative Republicans and

four liberal Democrats.

The new drama began with remarks Trump

made Tuesday when he went after Jon S. Tigar,

the San Francisco-based judge who had ruled

against Trump’s asylum order. The president

claimed, not for the first time, that the 9th Circuit

was biased against him.

Roberts had refused to comment on Trump’s

earlier attacks on judges, including the chief justice

himself. But on Wednesday, after a query by

The Associated Press, he spoke up for the independence

of the federal judiciary and rejected the

perception that judges are loyal to the presidents

who appoint them.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges,

Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts insisted.

“What we have is an extraordinary group

of dedicated judges doing their level best to do

equal right to those appearing before them.”

He concluded: “The independent judiciary is

something we should all be thankful for.”

Trump responded by questioning the independence

of federal judges appointed by his predecessor.

He especially criticized judges on the 9th


“Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you

do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a

much different point of view than the people who

are charged with the safety of our country,” the

president tweeted.

Last year, the president scorned the “so-called

judge” who made the first federal ruling against

his travel ban. During the presidential campaign,

he criticized Roberts for the chief justice’s decisive

vote in 2012 to preserve President Barack

Obama’s health care overhaul.

Trump also referred to an Indiana-born judge

of Mexican descent, who was presiding over a

fraud lawsuit against Trump University, as a Mexican

who would be unable to rule fairly because

of Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the

U.S.-Mexico border.

“Every case that gets filed in the 9th Circuit,

we get beaten,” Trump said. “And then we end up

having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel

ban, and we won.”

The president went on to say about the asylum

ruling: “This was an Obama judge. And I’ll tell you

what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore. “

The initial travel ban ruling in 2017 was issued

by U.S. District Judge James Robart, an appointee

of President George W. Bush in Washington

state. Roberts, too, was appointed by Bush.

The 9th Circuit is by far the largest of the federal

appellate courts, covering Alaska, Arizona, California,

Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon

and Washington.

Trump demands some ‘common sense’ from America’s judges




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