President Trump’s criticism of federal judges could color the debate when big issues on his agenda hit the Supreme Court.
The collision appears inevitable, with Trump’s executive order halting travel to the United States by people from seven majority-Muslim countries — a ban a federal judge blocked last week — already moving quickly through the judicial system.
Legal scholars say Trump’s attacks on judges are unlikely to have any effect on a high court ruling. But it will be impossible for the justices to have missed those broadsides, which have extended to Chief Justice John Roberts himself.
“Judges will and should try not to be influenced by his trashing of the independent judiciary, but judges are only human,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School.
Roberts has maintained a reputation as an institutionalist who prides himself on staying above the political fray. But many also consider him the savior of ObamaCare after his votes kept the law afloat in two major decisions that conservatives called politically motivated.