President Donald Trump’s attack on a federal judge for putting the brakes on his sweeping travel ban could backfire, with some legal experts warning Trump’s harsh words could sway other rulings against him and Sen. Chuck Schumer predicting the outburst will firm Democratic resistance to his Supreme Court nominee.
Trump on Saturday blasted out a tweet against U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who issued a ruling Friday night that effectively blocked the president’s executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump wrote, also warning that “death & destruction” could result if the U.S. is not allowed to restrict the immigration.
It was not the first time Trump has attacked a federal judge. During the presidential campaign, he repeatedly railed against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, saying the Indiana-born judge presiding over Trump University litigation had “an absolute conflict” because he was “of Mexican heritage.”
But Trump’s latest attack could have more dire consequences now that he’s in the Oval Office and is going after judges who have national policies before them.
Schumer on Saturday warned that the rebuke against Robart would make Democrats even more skeptical of Trump's nomination of federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
He made particular note that Robart was nominated by former President George W. Bush and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
“The President's attack on Judge James Robart, a Bush appointee who passed with 99 votes, shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution, making it more important that the Supreme Court serve as an independent check on the administration,” Schumer said in a statement.
He added, “With each action testing the Constitution, and each personal attack on a judge, President Trump raises the bar even higher for Judge Gorsuch's nomination to serve on the Supreme Court. His ability to be an independent check will be front and center throughout the confirmation process.”
Beyond possibly complicating Gorsuch’s confirmation, Trump’s attack on Robart had the legal community aghast, with some predicting consequences for litigation in the future.
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