May 20, 2022

Trump just fired back at Chief Justice Roberts in an unprecedented challenge

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Yesterday, Trump complained once again about the United States’ system of checks and balances by blasting the 9th Circuit Court as a “disgrace” for ruling against him in the past. Rather than accept the fact that some of his presidential actions and policies have been illegal, he insists on whining that he’s simply being treated unfairly by the judicial branch.


Today, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts pushed back on the president’s rhetoric, refuting his claim of politicization within the judiciary.

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“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. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for,” Roberts said in a statement.

Now, Trump is doubling down. The petulant president took to Twitter to address Chief Justice Roberts, telling him that he is wrong and that are in fact such things as “Obama judges.” He claimed that they have a “much different worldview” than the people “charged with the safety of our country.”

Presumably, Trump imagines himself in the latter category, although one would be hard-pressed to name a single way in which he has made the country safer. Perhaps his most notable move as commander in chief to date was the disgraceful, wasteful deployment of the military to the southern border to repel an imagined invasion.

The twit who tweets went on to further denigrate the 9th circuit. He whined that it is not, in fact, an independent judiciary, and called the outcomes of past rulings “shocking,” although one can safely presume he could not name a single one if asked. Trump also repeated his lie that his concerns are about safety when in reality they are quite clearly about nothing more than raw power.

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After two years of norms shredding and institution-undermining, it’s almost not worth mentioning it, but presidents are not expected to challenge Supreme Court justices so directly. The separation of powers is at the core of our democracy and Trump is trying to bulldoze through it as usual.

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Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau pointed out the unprecedented nature of Trump’s behavior:

With that said, the continued insistence that judges are completely nonpartisan is a tawdry charade. While the appearance of neutrality may have had some uses under prior administrations (in that it maintained the public’s faith in government institutions) it’s laughably dishonest in the Trump era if not actively dangerous.

If judges were truly neutral, Republicans wouldn’t paint Trump’s judiciary appointments as victories. They wouldn’t celebrate Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and Mitch McConnell would have never blocked Merrick Garland during the Obama years. Judges interpret the law through their own ideology and under Trump that ideology is radical right-wing activism. The sooner Americans more broadly recognize this fact, the sooner we will fully comprehend just what a dire threat Trump’s continued reign represents.

Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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