When President Trump called US District Court Judge James L. Robart— who was appointed to the bench by George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate– a “so-called judge” for ruling against his immigration order, the silence from most Republicans in Congress was deafening.
When Trump said Judge Robart would be to blame “if something happens,” the lack of Republican outrage at Trump’s attack on an independent judiciary echoed even louder.
Not a single member of House GOP leadership, nor House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), came to Robart’s defense or rebuked Trump. Many senior House Republicans privately feel Trump’s comments are counterproductive, but they aren’t willing to criticize Trump publicly because they feel it distracts from their legislative messaging.
Of all members of Congress, the chair of the Judiciary Committee should be among the most willing to oppose an effort by the President of the United States to demean and intimidate a federal judge. This is nothing less than a frontal assault on the constitutional separation of powers, and Goodlatte should know it. If he does know it, but still won’t say anything, it tells us all we need to know about him.