by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Roberts’ attempt to defend the integrity and independence of the judiciary did more harm than good. Had Roberts not entered the fray, Trump’s “Obama judge” comment would likely have past mainly unnoticed. Instead the chief justice elevated the profile of the president’s criticism and raised the question of whether Trump was right: Are there Trump and Obama judges, Bush and Clinton judges, and Bush, Reagan, and Carter judges?
Absolutely. Here are … proofs.
1. Schumer Applauds the Highly Partisan John Roberts
Sen. Chuck Schumer highlighted the first proof of Trump’s proposition in the most amusing way: The long-time liberal senator thanked Roberts for standing up to President Trump while condemning Roberts’ “partisan decisions which seem highly political on Citizens United, Janus, and Shelby.” …
… 2. Check Out the State of the Union
President Obama’s decision, in his January 2010 State of the Union address, to chastise the Supreme Court justices for the Citizens United decision—warning Americans it would open the flood gates to special interests, including money from foreign corporations—provides further proof of Trump’s point.
Not only did the Democrat president, during a joint session of Congress, condemn the majority opinion handed down by the five Republican-appointed justices, but the partisan rift was on full display to the watching country when the left side of the aisle stood alone in applause to the presidential pushback, while Republicans remained seated. …
… 3. Research Backs Up These Anecdotes
It is not merely the anecdotal, though, that supports Trump’s assertion that there are Obama judges, and other judges modified by their respective appointing president. Legal and political science scholars have been researching the relationship between judges’ voting patterns and the political party of the appointing president for nearly 20 years. That research has included statistical techniques and analyses and has concluded that there is “striking evidence of a relationship between the political party of the appointing president and judicial voting patterns.”