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Chief Justice Roberts responds to Trump's criticism of 'Obama judge'


Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday rebuked President Trump's criticism of a federal judge who ruled against his administration's asylum policy this week as "an Obama judge."

Roberts said in a rare statement first reported by The Associated Press that the U.S. doesn't have "Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

“What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them,” Roberts said in the statement released by the Supreme Court's press office.

“That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for," he added in the statement, which came a day before Thanksgiving.

Trump's criticism of U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar came a day after the judge sided with opponents of Trump’s policy prohibiting certain immigrants from claiming asylum and granted their request for a temporary restraining order.

The president on Tuesday dismissed Tigar, a judge from the Northern District of California, without naming him, referring to him as "an Obama judge." Tigar was nominated by the former president in 2012.

Trump issued the criticism while railing against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases appealed from the district court. Both courts are based in San Francisco.

Trump has long been critical of federal judges.

During his campaign, Trump criticized a federal judge for his Mexican heritage in a lawsuit against Trump University, and last year said the federal judge who blocked his travel ban would be to blame “if something happens.”

Supreme Court justices usually refrain from commenting or responding to the remarks of politicians. Roberts is known for working to protect the reputation of the judiciary as an independent branch of government. During his confirmation hearing, he famously compared judges to umpires.

“The role of the umpire and judge is critical,” he said. “They make sure everybody plays by the rules, but it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”

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