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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Publicly Criticizes Trump

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” the conservative justice said in a statement

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in Washington, to a joint session of Congress, Feb. 28, 2017.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in Washington,Feb. 28, 2017.

Jim Lo Scalzo/AP/Shutterstock

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts threw a little shade at the President Trump on Wednesday afternoon, criticizing the politicization of the federal judiciary. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” the George W. Bush appointee 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. The independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Roberts’ statement comes a day after Trump described U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar as “an Obama judge” following his ruling that stymied the administration’s attempt to prevent migrants crossing the southern border illegally from applying for asylum. “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 wrote, adding that “failure to comply with entry requirements such as arriving at a designated port of entry should bear little, if any, weight in the asylum process.”

“Every case that gets filed in the 9th Circuit, we get beaten,” Trump groused to reporters on Tuesday. “And then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won.” Yelling over the sound of a nearby helicopter, the president added that “it’s not going to happen like this anymore” and that the 9th Circuit “is really something we have to take a look at.”

Trump’s controversial “travel ban,” which attempted to prevent the admission of refugees from 11 predominantly Muslim countries, was initially blocked by U.S. District Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee. Trump attacked him anyway. “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” the president tweeted last December. A federal appeals court later upheld Robart’s ruling, prompting the administration to rework the ban’s scope. In June, the Supreme Court upheld an updated version of the policy 5-4. “The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority,” Roberts wrote.

Trump was in Palm Beach golfing with Jack Nicklaus as Roberts’ criticism was made public Wednesday afternoon.


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