“HONOLULU (Reuters) – One of three federal appeals court judges who last month upheld a ruling that blocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s first try at a travel ban said on Thursday it was “corrosive to the justice system” when litigants attack judges for their decisions.
Judge Richard Clifton of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest in a series of judges to draw criticism from Trump after Clifton and two colleagues refused to reinstate an executive order temporarily barring entry by people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Shortly after the Feb. 9 ruling, Trump tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” He also told reporters that the ruling was “political.”
“It’s easy to blame the referee when you don’t like the result,” Clifton said in a speech to the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which is meeting in Honolulu.
“It is corrosive to the system when a disappointing result, or result disappointing to you, is responded to by blaming the referee,” said Clifton, who did not mention Trump by name.
. . . .
In an order issued late Wednesday related to Trump’s first travel ban challenge, a colleague of Clifton, U.S. Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, had words of his own for the invectives against members of the judiciary in these cases.
“The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse — particularly when they came from the parties,” Bybee wrote, declining to mention the president by name.
The judge, who was also appointed by Bush, added: “It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court.”
As pointed out in my blog yesterday, Judge Bybee was actually filing a dissenting opinion supporting the President’s authority to issue “Travel Ban 1.0.” Even so, he was offended by the President’s attacks on his Federal Judicial colleagues. Never good when even those who agree with your legal position are put off by your obnoxious personal conduct. Judge Bybee also reinforced one of my points — judges at any level never appreciate comments on the merits of a case by a party.
Here’s the link to my post from yesterday: