November 26, 2018
Chancellor Mary F. Platt Praises Chief Justice John Roberts’ Defense of the Federal Judiciary
Praising Chief Justice John Roberts’ defense of the federal judiciary, Chancellor Mary F. Platt issued the following statement today criticizing President Trump’s and other politicians’ political attacks on the judiciary.
I applaud Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ criticism of President Trump for calling U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar “an Obama judge” after Judge Tigar issued a temporary restraining order against the president’s asylum policy last week. President Trump called the decision a “disgrace” and threatened to file a “major complaint” against Judge Tigar.
As the head of the U.S. Judicial Conference, Chief Justice Roberts correctly responded to this attack on the federal judiciary by stating, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. 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.”
President Trump responded with another tweet that “the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster. It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any Circuit in the Country, 79%, & is used to get an almost guaranteed result.” In fact, President Trump’s attack on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was not only improper, but erroneous. The Ninth Circuit’s reversal rate is only slightly higher than the Supreme Court’s 74% average reversal rate, which is high because the likelihood of reversal often leads the Supreme Court to review a lower court decision. In addition, the Ninth Circuit’s reversal rate is not the highest among the 13 Circuit Courts. Sadly, President Trump is not alone in politically attacking our judiciary. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, while praising Chief Justice Roberts’ statement last week, added that he did not agree with Chief Justice Roberts’ “partisan decisions which seem highly political.”
Our Constitution established a separate branch of government with an independent judiciary charged with impartially interpreting our laws and Constitution. An independent judiciary is essential to maintaining the rule of law and our democracy. If politicians want courts to uphold their decisions, they need to comply with the law or get the legislature to pass different laws that are constitutional. Politicians may disagree with a judicial ruling, but the appropriate response to such a ruling is to appeal it, not to threaten retaliatory action and engage in disrespectful, partisan attacks on the judge that undermine judicial independence and the public’s confidence in our judicial system.