Neil Gorsuch, in a conversation with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, said that "any criticism about a judge's integrity and independence" were "disheartening" and "demoralizing."
The comments were conveyed as being in reference to statements made by Trump regarding the "so-called judge" (that would be James Robart) who issued the temporary restraining order halting the Executive Order on Immigration.
Gorsuch confirmed the dis- and de- comments were his, even as Trump suggested otherwise (and, of course, personally attacked Blumenthal). While others confirmed that Gorsuch was specifically referring to Trump's comments, Spicer offered this instead:
There's a big difference between commenting on the specific comments that have been made, and the tweet, and his general philosophy about the judiciary and the respect for his fellow judges.
He literally went out of his way to say I'm not commenting on a specific instance. So to take what he said about a generalization and apply it to a specific is exactly what he intended not to do.And Spicer also noted that executive criticism of the judiciary was a time-honored tradition, and even Barack Obama did it in a State of the Union address.
I get it, but at some point is seems like there's clearly a double standard when it's how this is applied. When President Obama did it, there was no concern from this briefing room. When (Trump) does it, it's, you know, a ton of outrage.So, I checked to see what Obama said in his 2010 SOTU, where he made some very well-reported (and seriously wrong place, wrong time) comments, to see whether I could find a personal attack on one or more justices of the Supreme Court in Obama's remarks (emphasis added):
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.In 2015, on the fifth anniversary of the decision, Obama made a broader statement on the case, and I looked again for a personal attack against a SCOTUS justice (again, emphasis added):
Our democracy works best when everyone's voice is heard, and no one's voice is drowned out. But five years ago, a Supreme Court ruling allowed big companies - including foreign corporations - to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections. The Citizens United decision was wrong, and it has caused real harm to our democracy. With each new campaign season, this dark money floods our airwaves with more and more political ads that pull our politics into the gutter. It's time to reverse this trend. Rather than bolster the power of lobbyists and special interests, Washington should lift up the voices of ordinary Americans and protect their democratic right to determine the direction of the country that we love.Unless I'm blind, I don't see Obama doing what Trump did to Judge Robart - including allocating blame directly to the judge, "should anything happen." And, if there's nothing Robart-like in Obama's statements, there certainly isn't anything remotely close to Trump's comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the Indiana-born "Mexican" judge who was involved in the Trump University case.
Remember that one, when Trump was a candidate? Let's all refresh our memories, by reviewing these comments from campaign appearances and media interviews (emphasis added):
...very hostile judge...because it was me... there's a hostility toward me by the judge, tremendous hostility, beyond belief...he happens to be Spanish... he is Hispanic... a judge who is very hostile... extremely hostile to me... he has been extremely hostile to me... a very hostile judge. Now he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me. I said it loud and clear... A hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel and he is not doing the right thing... judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that's fine... I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself... it's a disgrace that he's doing this... the judges in this court system, federal court... they ought to look into that Judge Curiel because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace... he's proud of his heritage, OK? I'm building a wall... we are building a wall. He's a Mexican.We're building a wall between here and Mexico... he is giving us very unfair rulings, rulings that people can't even believe... he is giving us unfair rulings Now, I saw "why?" Well, I'm building a wall, OK? And it's a wall between America and Mexico. Not another country. He's of Mexican heritage and he's very proud of it...It makes me want to vomit all over again, just reading all of this hatred from the man who wanted to be - and now is - the president.
But - back to the point -- I'm STILL trying to find a similarity between Obama blasting a SCOTUS decision and Trump's comments about either Judge Robart or Judge Curiel. There is no double standard here, is there?
We might need some clarification from Sean Spicer on this one.