- US President Donald Trump said on Thanksgiving that there would be “bedlam, chaos, injury and death” if the federal judiciary did not give him his way on immigration policy.
- Trump has been butting heads with Chief Justice John Roberts, who has defended the independence of the federal judiciary.
- The Constitution tasks the judicial branch with checking Congress and the executive branch on the constitutionality of their actions.
- Trump has particularly criticised the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, widely viewed as a liberal court, which has blocked several of his actions on immigration.
President Donald Trump again butted heads with Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday over the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit after a federal judge blocked Trump’s move to restrict access to political asylum in the US for immigrants who enter the country illegally.
“Justice Roberts can say what he wants,” Trump tweeted, referring to a rare statement from the top-ranking member of the Supreme Court defending the independence of the judicial branch of government, “but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.”
The 9th Circuit Court, based in San Francisco, is widely viewed as one of the US’s most liberal and has previously blocked Trump’s moves on immigration, such as his travel ban. The judge who blocked Trump’s rollback of asylum rights, however, was a District Court judge, and not of the 9th circuit.
“It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any Circuit in the Country, 79%, & is used to get an almost guaranteed result,” Trump tweeted.
A PolitiFact investigation in 2017 found that the Supreme Court overturned 79% of cases it reviewed from the 9th Circuit from 2010 to 2015, though less than 1% of the total number of cases ruled by the circuit court got overturned.
Furthermore, PolitiFact found that the 9th Circuit didn’t have the highest rate of cases reviewed and overturned by the Supreme Court in that period – the 6th Circuit did, with 87%.
“Judges must not Legislate Security and Safety at the Border, or anywhere else. They know nothing about it and are making our Country unsafe,” Trump continued.
The US Constitution tasks members of the federal judiciary with determining whether actions by Congress or the executive branch comply with the Constitution.
In the case of the asylum ban, the federal judge found that Trump could not bar immigrants who enter the US illegally from seeking asylum, as it clashed with laws passed by Congress.
While Trump as president has broad authority to determine how to execute law enforcement, legislation must be carried out in cooperation with Congress.
“Our great Law Enforcement professionals MUST BE ALLOWED TO DO THEIR JOB! If not there will be only bedlam, chaos, injury and death. We want the Constitution as written!” Trump continued.
But the judges in the 9th Circuit are also fulfilling their constitutional duty, according to Roberts and other legal experts, and part of their job is determining the scope of what law-enforcement professionals can do.