Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts railed against President Donald Trump after Trump chided a federal judge who ruled against the president's ban on asylum-seekers.
On Tuesday, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California temporarily blocked the federal government from denying entry to migrants seeking political asylum between legal points of entry at the southern border.
"Whatever the scope of the president's authority," Tigar said in his opinion, "he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden."
Trump, in response, called the ruling a "disgrace" and denounced Tigar as an "Obama judge," echoing his administration's growing frustration with the judiciary. Trump then issued a threat against the Ninth Circuit, which has routinely bucked Trump's policies.
"We're gonna have to look at that," Trump blustered. "This was an Obama judge. And I'll tell you what, it's not going to happen anymore."
In a rare statement to the Associated Press on Wednesday, Roberts denounced Trump's ire with the courts and pressed the importance of having an independent judiciary.
"We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts charged. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."
Roberts added: "That independent judiciary is something we should be thankful for."
Late Tuesday, Trump responded on Twitter:
Some people were thrilled over Roberts' check on Trump's thirst for demonizing the courts.
But not everyone was on board with Roberts' assessment.
Many feel like the days of a non-partisan judiciary are long gone.
The recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination process was nearly derailed by allegations of sexual assault, is still fresh in people's minds.
The legal battle over asylum is far from over. The Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department called Tigar's ruling "absurd."
"Our asylum system is broken, and it is being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims every year," Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldeman and Justice Department spokesman Steven Stafford said in a statement. "It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled."
The president shrugged off Tigar's decision on Tuesday and vowed to take his fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
"Every case that gets filed in the 9th Circuit, we get beaten," Trump seethed. "And then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won."
Trump made a similar stink in 2017 when a "so-called judge" ruled that Trump's ban on Muslims entering the United States was unconstitutional.