Trump, in blunderbuss fashion, responded to a ruling by Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Tigar, a liberal Obama appointee, issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from carrying out President Trump’s 9 November directive that requests for asylum and refugee status would no longer be extended to any arriving in the United States illegally. As Victor Davis Hanson notes in American Greatness, Trump criticized Tigar’s decision as the ruling of an “Obama judge,” calling it a “disgrace.”
That attack warranted a quick judicious reply from Supreme Court Justice John Roberts: “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.”
Like Obama, Trump Quick to Attack Courts
Certainly, lawyers and even the general public classify judges largely by the officials who appointed them. The politics of their selection is a good exegesis why they rule consistently either in progressive or traditionalist fashion. And there is a political reason why Trump’s opponents prefer to press their cases in the federal courts of northern California.
Such stereotyping is not to say that justices are not independent, only that those who appoint them do so for a reason. If it were otherwise, why would there have been a fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the first place? And why do progressives count on the court for radical social change and thus oppose constructionists?
Presidents Choose Judges Who Reflect Their Policies
In other words, while many liberal justices (think Brennan, Souter, Stevens) have been appointed by Republicans (who apparently wrongly assumed they were strict constructionists), as a general rule, presidents try to reflect their own politics in their choices of justices. Roberts may have thought he was depoliticizing the court and ensuring its autonomy, but he did so in being far less accurate and candid than was Trump—while voicing the banalities that the majority of the public appreciates.
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