Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Calls At­tacks on Judges ‘De­mor­al­is­ing’

Ex­presses dis­ap­point­ment with Trump’s com­ments about the ju­di­ciary in a pri­vate meet­ing

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Washi n g ton : Judge Nei l M Gor­such, Pres­i­dent Trump’s nom­i­nee for the Supreme Court, pri­vately ex­pressed dis­may on Wed­nes­day over Trump’s in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive at­tacks on the ju­di­ciary, call­ing the pres­i­dent’s crit­i­cism of in­de­pen­dent judges “de­mor­al­is­ing” and “dis­heart­en­ing”. re­marks by Judge Gor­such, cho­sen by Trump last week to serve on the na­tion’s high­est court, came as the pres­i­dent lashed out at the fed­eral ap­pel­late judges who are con­sid­er­ing a chal­lenge to his ex­ec­u­tive or­der ban­ning travel from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries. The pres­i­dent called their ju­di­cial pro­ceed­ings “dis­grace­ful” and de­scribed the courts as “so po­lit­i­cal”.

Those re­marks fol­lowed Trump’s week­end Twit­ter out­burst in which he de­rided a Seat­tle cir­cuit court judge who blocked his travel ban as a “so-called judge” whose “ridicu­lous” rul­ing would be over­turned. Judge Gor­such ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment with Trump’s com­ments about the ju­di­ciary in a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion with Se­na­tor Richard Blu­men­thal as he paid cour­tesy calls on Capi­tol Hill to build sup­port for his con­fir­ma­tion. An ac­count of the dis­cus­sion was con­firmed by a White House ad­viser work­ing to ad­vance the Gor­such con­fir­ma­tion, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rised to com­ment.

The spec­ta­cle of a Supreme Court nom­i­nee break­ing so starkly with the pres­i­dent who named him un­der­scored the un­usual na­ture of Trump’s pub­lic feud with the ju­di­ciary. Speak­ing to a group of sher­iffs and po­lice chiefs on Wed­nes­day, the pres­i­dent said the ap­pel­late judges had failed to grasp con­cepts even “a bad high school stu­dent would un­der­stand”.

“This is highly un­usual,” said Michael W McCon­nell, a for­mer fed­eral judge who di­rects the Con­sti­tu­tional Law Cen­ter at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity. “Trump is shred­ding long­stand­ing norms of eti­quette and in­ter­branch comity.” McCon­nell called Mr. Trump’s com­ments “ex­tremely self-de­feat­ing and self-de­struc­tive” be­cause of their po­ten­tial to sway judges to rule against Trump.

“Judges who hear crit­i­cism of this sort are not go­ing to be in­clined to knuckle un­der; it’s go­ing to stiffen their spines to be even more in­de­pen­dent,” said McCon­nell, who was nom­i­nated to his judge­ship by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush.

Neil M Gor­such

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