Donald Trump has been critical of judges who issue rulings counter to his administration’s policies, but Chief Justice John Roberts has avoided directly contesting the sitting president. Roberts finally broke his silence on Tuesday, rebuking Trump’s claim that “an Obama judge” unfairly blocked one of his latest policies.


Trump and his administration planned to deny asylum to immigrants who crossed over the border illegally, an act that was temporarily blocked in a ruling by Federal District Court Judge Jon Tigar on Monday. Trump harshly responded to the ruling on Tuesday before leaving the White House to go on holiday.

“You go the 9th Circuit and it’s a disgrace,” Trump exclaimed. “And I’m going to put in a major complaint because you cannot win, if you’re us, a case in the 9th Circuit and I think it’s a disgrace. This was an Obama judge. And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore.”


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Although Barack Obama did nominate Tigar, Roberts rebutted Trump’s recent lamentations in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts explained. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them,” adding that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

This is the first instance of Roberts, who was appointed by George W. Bush, speaking out against Trump. However, Roberts has consistently maintained that the judges do not issue their rulings by adhering to partisan political ideologies. During a speech last month, Roberts said, “I will not criticize the political branches. Our role is very clear. We are to interpret the Constitution and laws of the United States and ensure that the political branches act within them.”

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