Chief Justice John Roberts rebukes Trump and defends federal judges in rare statement

  • Chief Justice John G. Roberts defended the federal judiciary and rebuked President Donald Trump in a rare statement.
  • This came a day after Trump suggested a federal judge, who he called “an Obama judge,” let political bias determine his decision to halt his administration’s ban on granting asylum to migrants who illegally cross the border.
  • “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts defended the federal judiciary in a remarkable statement just a day after President Donald Trump suggested a federal judge, who he called “an Obama judge,” let political bias determine his decision to halt his administration’s ban on granting asylum to migrants who illegally cross the border.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in an unusual Wednesday statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”

Roberts, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2003, suggested that politicizing the courts is harmful to American democracy.

“That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for,” he wrote in the statement, which was made in response to a request for comment about Trump’s remarks from the Associated Press.

Trump lashed out at the federal judge when talking with reporters on Tuesday.

“This was an Obama judge. And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore,” the president said. “It means an automatic loss no matter what you do. … People should not be allowed to immediately run to this very friendly circuit and file their case.”

Trump has also repeatedly singled out the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which is generally regarded as more left-leaning than other federal appeals courts, calling it a “disgrace” for blocking his immigration ban targeting Muslim countries last year.

Other Supreme Court justices, including Sonia Sotomayor, have also recently defended the judiciary against charges that it is increasingly a political branch of government.

“Conservative, liberal, those are political terms,” Sotomayor said in a recent interview, arguing that the terms don’t apply to federal judges, who rule based on their individual interpretations of the law.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.