President Trump has a new target for his Twitter rage: John Roberts, chief justice of the United States.
Trump lashed out at Roberts on Wednesday in an escalating dispute over the independence of the federal judiciary that began the day before, when Trump attacked an appellate judge appointed by President Obama over a ruling that went against the administration’s policy on refugee asylum, calling him an “Obama judge.”
Roberts rebuked the president for that remark in a statement to the Associated Press, provoking a response from Trump in which he implied that the chief justice has a lot to learn about how the U.S. court system works and told him to “study the numbers” on how often the Ninth Circuit (which covers the West Coast) has frequently overturned his administration’s policies.
“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 wrote on Twitter. “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. Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security — these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”
Trump had lashed out after Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order on Monday blocking implementation of the president’s policy restricting applications for asylum by migrants entering the country from Mexico between official border crossings. The “caravan” of mostly Central American asylum-seekers began arriving at the border in the past week.
Trump called Tigar’s ruling “disgraceful” and noted that the judge had been appointed in 2012 by Obama.
This led Roberts to issue his own rebuke of the president’s understanding of the judicial system.
“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”
Presidents have often been critical of Supreme Court rulings, as Obama was after the court’s ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC case and as George W. Bush was following a high court ruling that upheld the rights of U.S. prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the feud between Roberts and Trump is new territory for the country, since it concerns the role of the judiciary itself.
As most Americans were busy preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump continued to press his case that the court system itself was making the country less safe.
There are a lot of CRIMINALS in the Caravan. We will stop them. Catch and Detain! Judicial Activism, by people who know nothing about security and the safety of our citizens, is putting our country in great danger. Not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018
As of Wednesday evening, the chief justice had yet to respond further to the president.
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