Chief Justice Roberts issues rare statement in wake of President Trump’s criticism

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. speaks at the University of Miami as part of the University Lecture Series at the BankUnited Center on the University's Coral Gables campus November 13, 2006 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON– Chief Justice John Roberts made a rare statement on Wednesday pushing back against President Donald Trump after the President again went after federal judges.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said. “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.”

Roberts’ comment came in response to an inquiry from The Associated Press. On Tuesday, Trump slammed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals again, this time after a judge from the Northern District of California — where cases get appealed to the 9th Circuit — issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from barring migrants who cross into the US illegally from seeking asylum.

Roberts, who then-President George W. Bush tapped to lead the Supreme Court, is the highest authority in the federal judiciary, and his remark was a rare direct response to the head of the Executive Branch.

Trump has been a frequent critic of the 9th Circuit, and just a few months into his presidency, Trump said he was considering breaking up the circuit that covers a slew of western states and Guam.

Several of his most controversial policies have been held up by judges there, and the temporary block on his attempt to rewrite asylum rules marked the latest such instance.

Just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, President Trump responded on Twitter:

Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have “Obama judges,” and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country. It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an “independent judiciary,” but if it is why……

…..are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned. Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security – these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!