Former President Donald Trump has been critical of two judges overseeing his many trials. The criticism is pretty standard for Trump, who is near-constantly criticizing someone. But the criticism of sitting members of the judiciary has raised eyebrows.
According to The Guardian, Trump’s ad hominem verbal attacks pose “physical risks for the judiciary” and weaken the U.S. judicial system.
“Rising concerns about Trump’s attacks on judges and prosecutors were underscored this month when a federal judge in Washington DC and a state judge in New York issued tailored gag orders to curb Trump’s public tirades,” The Guardian reported.
Retired judge Nancy Gertner said, “Trump’s attacks on judges poison the civil atmosphere and make physical attacks … more likely … Trump is challenging the very role of judges.”
Standard Donald Trump Behavior
Trump isn’t doing himself any favors. I’m less willing than Gertner to blame prospective physical attacks against judges Trump criticizes on Trump himself. But I’ll say that Trump’s behavior isn’t appropriate. Then again, I don’t really notice Trump’s behavior or his outspokenness. Do you? It’s all just white noise at this point, after nearly a decade of blasting each and every adversary with hyperbole and half-truths. At this point, having Trump criticize you is almost like having Saturday Night Live make fun of you – it’s a badge of honor; it means you’re relevant.
“To date, Trump’s verbal assaults on judges seem to echo harsh personal attacks he has made against the special counsel Jackk Smith, who Trump has labeled ‘deranged,’ ‘crooked’ and a ‘thug,’ after Smith brought two separate cases of federal charges against [Trump],” The Guardian reported.
Trump refocused his criticisms on Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the election interference case. Trump called Chutkan “highly partisan,” “VERY BIASED,” and “UNFAIR.”
Trump’s criticisms of Chutkan were reevaluated when a woman in Texas was arrested after threatening to kill Chutkan – thus Gertner’s claim that Trump’s criticisms could potentially place the criticized judges in physical danger.
“If it’s open season on judges in advance of trials, then we risk undermining the system,” Gertner said.
Chutkan held a hearing on October 16th to consider whether a gag order should be imposed on Trump. Prosecutors argued that Trump used Truth Social to criticize retired General Mark Milley. Trump’s defense team, however, argued that imposing a gag order on a former President, who was currently campaigning for president, would be a first amendment violation. Chutkan compromised with a limited gag order that inhibits the president from “publicly attacking” witnesses, prosecutors, or court staff involved in the case.
“Chutkan said that Trump can continue to “argue that this prosecution is politically motivated,” but cannot “vilify [the prosecution] and implicitly encourage violence against public servants who are simply doing their jobs.”
Meanwhile, in New York state court, Justice Arthur Engoron also issued a limited gag order against Trump after Trump criticized Engoron and his law clerk.
“Personal attacks of any member of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I will not tolerate them,” Engoron said.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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