Pence Defends Trump's Skewering of Judge
President slammed James Robart over travel ban ruling
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2017 1:55 PM CST
This still image shows Judge James Robart listening to a case in Seattle in 2013.   (United States Courts via AP)

(Newser) – Vice President Mike Pence came to his boss' defense Sunday over the president's scolding of a federal judge. "The president of the United States has every right to criticize the other two branches of government," Pence said on NBC's Meet The Press. The VP had been asked about Trump's criticism of James Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle—the judge who has, for now, blocked the president's travel ban on people from seven countries. (Trump referred to him as a "so-called judge" in a Saturday morning tweet.) "I think people find it very refreshing that they not only understand this president's mind but they understand how he feels about things," says Pence. "He expresses himself in a unique way." Related coverage:

  • But it's not just Democrats criticizing Trump. "It is best not to single out judges," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on CNN. "We all get disappointed from time to time. I think it is best to avoid criticizing them individually." See Politico.
  • "We don't have any so-called judges, just real judges," said GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, per the Hill.
  • So who is Robart? It turns out the 69-year-old was appointed by George W. Bush and is seen as a "mainstream" Republican. The New York Times has a profile.
  • Robart made headlines last year when he declared that "black lives matter" in court, notes the Seattle Times. Its profiles also notes that he is highly regarded and was confirmed unanimously to the post.
  • The National Review looks at the nuts and bolts of Robart's move and notes that his decision could be the final say—if it reaches the Supreme Court when the court still has just eight justices. Read it here.
  • This opinion piece at CNN calls Trump's tweet about the judge his "most bone-chilling" yet.

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