U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Roberts: We Don't Have Obama Judges or Trump Judges

In the highly politicized and partisan world we live in, it can be comforting when the Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court publicly states that there is no such thing as a Trump judge or Obama judge, or Bush judge or Clinton judge.

Roberts basically said that there are just judges, and that we should all be thankful for the fact that the judiciary is independent. His comment was in response to President Trump putting California's Northern District judge, Jon Tigar, on blast, calling him an "Obama judge," after he enjoined the new anti-asylum policy that was announced.

Partisan Judging

Despite Chief Justice Roberts's seeming condemnation of President Trump's insistence on putting a partisan spin on judicial action, it can be a difficult for anyone to resist the tendency as the federal courts move further right or left depending on which party's leader gets to make the majority of appointments to a particular bench during any given term.

Yes, it's hard not to consider personal politics when a judge makes a decision in any case involving partisan, ideological or dogmatic principles below the surface issues. However, judges are bound by precedent and the law and legal procedure, and judges have to make decisions contrary to their personal beliefs on a daily basis, and publicly, under the scrutiny of lawyers, who might appeal, and journalists who might be able to actually explain to the world that an injustice was done due to a judge's personal biases.

And while Roberts's call for us to all be thankful for an independent judiciary might seem a bit forced this holiday season, maybe just being thankful for the courts' inherently un-partisan adherence to civil procedure and precedent.

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