Why Justice Roberts responded to President Trump
While Democrats count down the days until they officially take control of the U.S. House of Representatives more eagerly than children awaiting Christmas, President Trump turned his 280-character attention toward the third branch of government.
The aftermath underscores what a woefully vulnerable and discordant position the judiciary finds itself in, compared with its sister branches.
After a federal court ruled against the Trump administration’s asylum policy, the president made on offhand assessment that the decision came from “an Obama judge.”
Hardly the type of vitriolic attack we’ve become accustomed to from Trump, the remark didn’t even warrant a tweet in the president’s opinion. At least it didn’t until Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts publicly rebuked Trump for his comments.
That spurred Trump’s thumbs into a Thanksgiving response, albeit in a far more civil tone than other presidential critics could expect.
More than the merits or the message, that Roberts felt the need to respond in a public format highlighted how divergent the judiciary is from the other levers of government in modern America. The pressures created by that dynamic may go a long way to understanding why Roberts chose to speak out.