Chief Justice Roberts: No Such Thing as 'Obama Judges'

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer listen to President Trump's State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON — President Trump was in a war of words with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Thanksgiving Eve after the top judge issued a rare rebuke of Trump’s judicial criticism.


It began Tuesday as Trump was leaving the White House bound for Mar-a-Lago, and reacted to a federal judge in the Northern District of California blocking Trump’s move to automatically deny asylum to any migrant who crosses the border between ports of entry. Immigration advocates, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and ACLU, had argued in court that it was illegal to block an asylum case based on where the migrant claiming status illegally entered the country.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Judge Jon S. Tigar wrote. The case would go to the 9th Circuit on appeal.

Trump told reporters on the White House lawn that was “a disgrace.”

“Because every case, no matter where it is, they file it — practically, I mean practically — for all intents and purposes — they file it in what’s called the 9th Circuit. This was an Obama judge. And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore,” he said. “Everybody that wants to sue the United States, they file their case in — almost — they file their case in the 9th Circuit. And it means an automatic loss no matter what you do, no matter how good your case is.”

“And the 9th Circuit is really something we have to take a look at because it’s — because it’s not fair. People should not be allowed to immediately run to this very friendly circuit and file their case. And you people know better than anybody what’s happening. It’s a disgrace,” Trump continued. “In my opinion, it’s a disgrace what happens with the 9th Circuit. We will win that case in the Supreme Court of the United States.”


The Associated Press reached out to Roberts for comment, and the chief justice replied with a written statement.

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

“The independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for,” he added.

Trump replied on Twitter, “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. 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!”


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