Chief Justice John Roberts faces call to resign after rare direct criticism of President Trump

November 25, 2018

Chief Justice John Roberts faces call to resign after rare direct criticism of President Trump Richard Gillin / CCL

In a rare direct criticism of the president from the judicial branch, Chief Justice John Roberts openly rebuked President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he referred to a federal judge who blocked his latest immigration policy as an “Obama judge.” Now, one top White House ally is calling for Roberts’ resignation.

“Memo to Chief Justice Roberts: Do America a favor — [r]esign and give the gavel of the Chief Justice to Brett Kavanaugh,” David Wohl, a political and legal analyst with connections to the president and the White House, tweeted last week.

An independent judiciary to “be thankful for”

Wohl’s remarks came after Roberts criticized Trump for calling Jon Tigar — a San Francisco-based U.S. district judge who had just issued a temporary restraining order against a Trump policy that would deny asylum to those crossing over the southern border — an “Obama judge.”

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote.

Trump responded by calling the decision a “disgrace,” adding, “This was an Obama judge and I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore.”

The president went on to express his frustration with the Ninth Circuit, saying that “every case that gets filed in the Ninth Circuit, we get beaten… And then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won.”

Those comments proved to be too much for Chief Justice Roberts, who directly criticized the president in an unusual move on Wednesday.

“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,” Roberts wrote in a statement. “That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

“Obama judges” threaten American safety

Trump soon fired back at the head judge in a series of tweets wherein he alleged that “Obama judges” do, in fact, exist, and urged Roberts to study up on recent border cases overturned in the Ninth Circuit.

Trump went on to say that the Ninth Circuit is “too big,” and noted that some have suggested dividing it up “into 2 or 3 Circuits” before concluding with a passionate message to the judiciary: let the executive branch do its job of keeping the country safe.

Alongside ally Wohl, Trump is right to call out Roberts and the politicized judiciary for further dividing the country.

If Roberts can’t keep it together for the good of all Americans, he shouldn’t be serving as the Supreme Court’s chief justice.


Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a JD from the University of Connecticut.