Trump dismisses Roberts rebuke and blames judges for ‘bedlam and chaos’

Donald Trump with supreme court chief justice John Roberts as Trump arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress in Washington DC on 28 February 2017.

Unwilling to leave political arguments for after Thanksgiving, Donald Trump returned to the offensive against judges and judgements he does not like, blaming both for “bedlam, chaos, injury and death”.

As he did so, the president repeatedly targeted a federal appeals court, dismissed extraordinary criticism from the chief justice of the US supreme court and made what some deemed inappropriate remarks to troops participating in a holiday telephone call.

Trump’s initial attacks on the ninth circuit, which covers the west coast as well as Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona, came after a judge in San Francisco ruled against an attempt to override asylum law, with regard to a so-called “caravan” of migrants approaching the US border.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority,” Jon Tigar wrote, “he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.”

Tigar, who was appointed by Barack Obama in 2012, is in fact a district judge based in San Francisco, under the jurisdiction of the ninth circuit but not a member of its appeals court.

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On Wednesday, in response to the president’s invective on the matter, Roberts issued a statement denying that judges’ opinions were shaped by the president who appointed them.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” said Roberts, a conservative appointed by George W Bush in 2005.

“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.”

Trump tweeted then: “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges’, and they have a much different point of view than the…

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