Trump lashes out at Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts after he reminded the president that judges are supposed to be independent

President Donald Trump. Getty/Mark Wilson
  • President Donald Trump lashed out at Chief Justice John Roberts on Twitter Wednesday.
  • He also doubled down on criticism of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • Earlier on Wednesday, Roberts rebuked Trump, saying, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”
  • Roberts was responding to Trump calling a judge who ruled against the Trump administration on a matter related to asylum requests at the US-Mexico border an “Obama judge.”

President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Chief Justice John Roberts, continuing his criticism of the federal judiciary and repeating suspect claims about the caravan of migrants from Central America.

“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,” Trump tweeted.

“It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ‘independent judiciary,’ but if it is why are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned,” he said. “Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security – these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”^tfw^tfw

Earlier in the day Roberts had made a rare statement defending the federal judiciary against attacks from Trump.

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

He added: “That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Trump’s Wednesday tweets were a response to Roberts’ statement, and a doubling down of criticism against the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He also repeated a claim that there were “criminals” in the caravan of migrants either at or heading to the border, which in a fact-check The Washington Post gave three Pinocchios.

Earlier this week, Judge Jon Tigar of the US District Court in San Francisco blocked the Trump administration from applying a new immigration rule that would bar immigrants from applying for asylum if they did not cross at a legal checkpoint.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar’s order stated.

On Tuesday, Trump called Tigar an “Obama judge,” and he claimed that the 9th Circuit where, according to The New York Times, the case will likely head, a “disgrace.”

“This was an Obama judge,” Trump said of the ruling. “And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore. 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 had previously clashed with the courts – especially over his immigration policies. In June, however, in a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of the Trump administration’s “travel ban,” barring entry from certain majority-Muslim countries and North Korea.

The president’s open hostility toward courts and judges that rule against him is unprecedented.

“The courts are bulwarks of our Constitution and laws, and they depend on the public to respect their judgments and on officials to obey and enforce their decisions,” the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan organisation, wrote last year.

“Fear of personal attacks, public backlash, or enforcement failures should not colour judicial decision-making, and public officials have a responsibility to respect courts and judicial decisions. Separation of powers is not a threat to democracy; it is the essence of democracy.”