Chief Justice of the Supreme Court rebukes Donald Trump in rare intervention
Donald Trump has been reprimanded by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president.
Mr Trump on Tuesday described a federal judge in California an "Obama judge", criticising his decisions.
Mr Roberts, breaking with tradition dictating that the Supreme Court refrain from reacting to politics, hit back and defended the judge.
He said that America does 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," he said, in a statement responding to an inquiry from the Associated Press.
"That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."
Mr Trump then hit back at the Chief Justice’s remarks, escalating the unprecedented row and tweeting: "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."
He continued: "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!"
There are a lot of CRIMINALS in the Caravan. We will stop them. Catch and Detain! Judicial Activism, by people who know nothing about security and the safety of our citizens, is putting our country in great danger. Not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018
Mr Trump’s assessment of Jon Tigar came after the judge issued a forceful ruling on Monday night blocking the president’s attempt to bar entry to the US to migrants who arrive between ports of entry.
"This was an Obama judge," said Mr Trump. "And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore."
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The president also repeated his attacks on the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has dealt his administration a number of legal setbacks.
And it came shortly before The New York Times published a startling story claiming that Mr Trump wanted this spring to order the justice department to prosecute his political rivals Hillary Clinton and James Comey, for unspecified crimes.
Mr Trump had to be dissuaded by the then-White House counsel, Don McGahn, who pointed out that pursing such a political prosecution would spark an immediate backlash that could harm his presidency.
The US president has never been reticent about criticising the judiciary. Last year, the president scorned the "so-called judge" who made the first federal ruling against his travel ban. During the presidential campaign, he criticised Roberts himself for the chief justice’s decisive vote in 2012 to preserve President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Mr Trump also referred to an Indiana-born judge of Mexican descent, who was presiding over a fraud lawsuit against Trump University, as a Mexican who would be unable to rule fairly because of Mr Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.