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Why can’t the president criticize a judge?

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 February 2017

Trump is not going to be bound by Washington conventions. He’s going to do and say things that are completely unacceptable to the DC establishment. Like criticizing a judge that disagrees with him. (As Obama famously criticized the Supreme Court in a State of the Union message, by the way.)

Good for Trump. And good for us.

I don’t like Trump’s blustery style, but … then again, it’s about time somebody shook things up a bit. These gentleman’s agreements and expectations very well might be a big part of the problem with Washington. The entrenched, arrogant power. The back room deals.

(Along these lines, there are suggestions that the White House correspondent’s dinner will not happen this year. And … why should it?)

But the new nastiness is going to cut both ways. The Democrats aren’t going to play nice in the minority. Once you break the truce, it’s hard to know what the other side will do.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Gorsuch doesn’t get a single Democratic vote, and the Republicans will have to go nuclear to get him confirmed. Fine.

2017-02-06  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 10

  1. William
    6 February 2017 @ 1:06 pm

    Yes, why can’t the president criticize a judge? What’s so newsworthy about Trump’s actions here? It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with judicial decisions. Bush didn’t hesitate to criticize a 2008 ruling recognizing the rights of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay. Nixon issued a statement that he was disappointed with a 1974 decision ordering him to turn over the tapes. As you stated, Obama did so during his 2010 SOTU address. Is this more fake news or haven’t those making issue of this not done their homework? Nothing to see here people…keep it moving!

  2. Greg Krehbiel Crowhill
    6 February 2017 @ 1:15 pm

    I think there are two things. First, it’s a matter of established doctrine among the elite that everything Trump does is a sign of the impending 4th Reich. But second, and more seriously, I think the complaint is that he called him a “so-called judge.”

    The thing is, that can be interpreted two ways. A sane person would interpret the remark as meaning “he’s not judging the law, he’s imposing his own opinion.” Hence a “so-called” judge.

    But from the perspective of the “OMG he’s Hitler” crowd, Trump’s remark means something more sinister. That he’s undermining the independence of the judiciary, or … something.

  3. William
    6 February 2017 @ 2:14 pm

    What you say makes sense but it’s not uniquely a Trump thing. For one reason or another detractors have found reasons to criticize a president (and attempted to make it newsworthy). Goodness knows we’ve just lived through eight years of that with Obama. Let’s see, wasn’t he accused of not being a US citizen, plotting a coup, planning to establish marital law, being a secret Muslim, establishing a FEMA concentration camp, developing a gun confiscation plan, planning a third term and the list went on. So, in this grand tradition, I suppose it’s now Trump’s turn (given his own behavior has made him an easy target).

    That said, none of the aforementioned is truly “news”…just detractors attempts to establish red herrings. You would think by now the public would learn to ignore this stuff and focus the “real” issues. Yet, I suspect it’s true, people love lies, innuendo and sensationalism more than facts and truth (too boring, I suppose). Again, I say, nothing to see here folks…keep it moving!

  4. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    6 February 2017 @ 2:21 pm

    >You would think by now the public would learn to ignore this stuff and focus the “real” issues.

    I think the public has learned (read, been trained) to believe these are the real issues.

    It’s painfully obvious that the media is biased. They refuse to cover stories that don’t fit with their agenda, and they lie / exaggerate about other things. This creates distrust among the public. Everybody realizes they’re hiding things from us.

    That creates a fertile environment for hysterical conspiracy theories.

    I am not a birther, so don’t misinterpret my remarks that way. But if there was evidence that Obama’s birth certificate was faked, do you think the media would have reported it?

    I’m not entirely certain. They had spent so much time ridiculing the birther movement (i.e., they had so much emotional investment in citizen Obama) I don’t think they could have evaluated such evidence objectively.

    If Obama was a closet Muslim, do you think the New York Times would print it?

    Again, I don’t believe these conspiracy theories, but I can understand why people wouldn’t trust the media to tell the truth about them. And in that environment, who do they believe?

  5. William
    6 February 2017 @ 3:19 pm

    QUOTE: I think the public has learned (read, been trained) to believe these are the real issues.

    I wouldn’t disagree…that’s why you have people believing lies about Obama, Trump and many other public figures. Yet, I’d suspect it goes further and plays into human nature People more readily believe lies and sensational stories rather than the truth.

    QUOTE: But if there was evidence that Obama’s birth certificate was faked, do you think the media would have reported it?

    I’d suspect the desire to break THAT story would be a lot stronger than keeping it a secret. At it’s core, the media is a business. Their strongest allegiance is to their bottom line and shareholders. They may have partial partisan views but with a blockbuster story like that, my question would be…”who wouldn’t report it?” (unless under some extraordinary threat). IMO, the rewards for telling that story (and being the first to do so) would FAR outweigh any political bias or allegiance. Of course, we don’t know the “real” answer but to assume they wouldn’t break such a sensational story might require a bit of conspiracy thinking in and of itself.

    QUOTE: If Obama was a closet Muslim, do you think the New York Times would print it?

    Maybe they wouldn’t “want” to print it, but if it meant their silence could lead to another competitor breaking the story and them losing business due to that…yep…they’d report it…in a NY minute!

    Overall, the media has rightfully earned the distrust of the public. That’s why I find it interesting when people don’t think beyond sensational headlines/stories, regardless of the target. Also interesting, despite having no basis in fact or having been proven false, subjects like the birther conspiracy and secret Muslim affiliation are still the subject of musings amongst some populations. Again, it seems to reinforce that people would rather believe the sensational than the factual.

  6. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    6 February 2017 @ 3:45 pm

    That’s not quite what I mean.

    If there was clear evidence that Obama’s birth certificate was invalid, or that he was a Muslim, then of course they would print it. The desire for the scoop would win over anything else.

    What I mean is that “evidence” is rarely that clear. There are doubts and suspicions and questions. The media — having sold themselves into a point of view — would always lean in a certain direction regarding those issues.

  7. smitemouth
    6 February 2017 @ 4:17 pm

    It’s one thing to criticize a judge and another thing to criticize a ruling.

    Say you have a problem with your wife, you have options on what you can say, like:

    1) Babe, I didn’t like what you did there
    2) What you did there was stupid
    3) You’re acting stupid
    4) You’re stupid
    5) Stupid, stupid, stupid, you are.

    Now, does Trump tend to deal from the bottom of the list or towards the top of the list in his public interactions? What about Obama and Bush? Which one is helpful? Which ones are attacks on the judgement and which ones are an attack on the judge? Which one is done by an adult, and which one is done by a child?

  8. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    6 February 2017 @ 4:20 pm

    I completely agree that Trump has a very unappealing, childish style.

  9. pentamom
    6 February 2017 @ 5:27 pm

    If he hadn’t said “so-called” the discomfort with his comment would have been a lot less widespread, I think. But when you refer to a duly appointed, confirmed, elected, whatever he is judge as “so-called” because he rules against you, don’t be surprised when people take it as confirmation of their belief that you’re really an autocrat at heart.

  10. William
    6 February 2017 @ 6:23 pm

    @Greg, even without “airtight” evidence, “IF” the media had enough “credible” information, they would likely break the stories. What they have to gain would be so much more valuable…even if they had to offer a minor mea culpa in the process.