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In a First, John Roberts Takes Shot at Trump

'We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges,' says the chief justice
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2018 1:33 PM CST
Chief Justice John Roberts speaks in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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(Newser) – When the AP asked John Roberts for a comment about President Trump's criticism of a federal judge, the chief justice delivered in a headline-making way. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” said Roberts in a statement released Wednesday. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them." And on the eve of the holiday, he added: "That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.” The AP notes that it's the first time Roberts has "offered even a hint of criticism" of Trump, while the New York Times characterizes it as a "direct rebuke." (Read Trump's response here.)

The controversy revolves around US District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco, an Obama appointee who ruled against the White House plan to restrict asylum-seekers at the border, per Politico. After the ruling, Trump belittled Tigar as an "Obama judge" and further called the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit a "disgrace" with a liberal bent. “Every case that gets filed in the Ninth Circuit we get beaten," he said. At the conservative RedState site, Andrea Ruth found Roberts' comments to be surprising: "It’s not all that rare for sitting Supreme Court justices to speak out on issues but I cannot remember a time when a justice flat out blasted a president for comments he made about the judiciary." (Read more John Roberts stories.)

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