US President Donald Trump has slammed federal judge James Robart who lifted the travel ban he had imposed on citizens of seven mainly-Muslim countries, taking an unusual jab at an independent branch of the US government as he vowed to bring back the restrictions.
Trump’s personal attack on US District Judge James Robart went too far for some who said he was undermining an institution designed to check the power of the White House and Congress.
As the White House worked to reinstate the ban, Trump mocked US District Judge James Robart, appointed by President George W Bush, as a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” ruling “will be overturned.”
In a series of tweets hours later, Trump said: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into US?”
“Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision. Why aren’t the lawyers looking at and using the Federal Court decision in Boston, which is at conflict with ridiculous lift ban decision,” he asked.
“The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy,” he added.
Trump’s tweets criticising the judge’s decision could make it tougher for Justice Department attorneys as they seek to defend the executive order in Washington state and other courts, said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, adding that presidents are usually circumspect about commenting on government litigation.
“It is hard for the president to demand that courts respect his inherent authority when he is disrespecting the inherent authority of the judiciary. That certainly tends to poison the well for litigation,” Turley told Reuters.
US immigration advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and International Refugee Assistance Project on Saturday in a joint statement urged those with now valid visas from the seven nations “to consider rebooking travel to the United States immediately” because the ruling could be overturned or put on hold.
Trump’s administration has appealed a federal judge’s order that blocked the US president’s ban.
The Justice Department appeal on Saturday came one day after a US district judge filed a nationwide order halting the ban’s implementation. Since then, the Department of Homeland Security has reverted to standard, previous procedure in admitting people from the affected countries.