Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer has already inadvertently backed President Donald Trump’s point about bias in the judiciary. But now, someone else is potentially helping to prove it and disprove Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert’s claim to the contrary.
And that person is a federal judge himself. One appointed by former President Barack Obama.
After Trump complained about the typically biased 9th Circuit Court of Appeals following an Obama-appointed judge issuing an injunction against Trump’s restrictions on asylum claims, Roberts spoke up. He claimed there was no bias in the judiciary, reported NPR.
“We do not 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.
“That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”
While Trump and others railed against Roberts’ claim, word was surfacing about another 9th Circuit judge’s past donations and who was responsible for his appointment.
And he’s quite possibly an “Obama judge” in more than one sense of the term.
Not only was Judge William Orrick III appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2012, but he is cited as helping to raise money for Obama during his first presidential campaign. But, no bias there, right?
The Watchdog group Public Citizen noted in its website archive that Orrick had raised at least $200,000 for Obama in 2008. In addition, he gave $30,800 to “to committees supporting Barack Obama” in 2008.
In 2004, Public Citizen noted that he raised at least $100,000 for John Kerry.
His listed fundraising and donations record shows a leftist slant. His rulings, some would argue, do the same.
The fact is, that as human beings, everyone has some bias here and there. It can be a massive undertaking for those in a profession that requires objectivity to keep themselves from allowing their own feelings to get involved.
But some professions, such as the judiciary, require it. And to be fair in rulings, it is a must.
Orrick’s listed personal donations do not prove on their own that he is biased, but they do point to a pattern that raises questions, particularly given his rulings — Orrick is also noted for being the judge who issued the restraining order in 2015 blocking the release of “undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood employees plotting to sell baby organs,” according to Fox News Insider.
And all of this leads right back to Roberts’ claim that there is no such thing as an “Obama judge,” et al.
While the chief justice’s apparent intent in defending the judiciary was an understandable one, his claim simply defies logic and Americans’ decades of experience with the judiciary. And that is reason enough why he should have perhaps chosen his words with a little more care.
Of course, even though he was appointed by President George W. Bush, there are those who claim Roberts is biased toward the left, too.
One reason was his twisted logic in the 2012 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare on taxation grounds that not even its supporters had argued. (Roberts invented a new definition of taxation “out of whole cloth,” as Avik Roy put it at Forbes)
Another reason is his siding with the Environmental Protection Agency in a key 2016 case that outraged many conservatives — and seemed to go against a Supreme Court ruling that had been issued less than a year before.
In short, Roberts has done a good deal on the bench to lose conservative trust.
Picking a fight with Trump on the ludicrous grounds that no sitting judge in the federal judiciary is unbiased — and doing it over a ruling by the notoriously biased 9th District Court — is not the wisest move for Roberts.
And when it turns out that the judge in question just happens to have been a huge donor to the Obama campaign back in 2008, Roberts’ fight is lost before it even gets started.
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