Trump attacks judges whose decisions block him

The federal judge who ruled against delays in implementing the three-year-old landfill-gas rules by President Trump’s EPA was blasted on May 25, when Trump called him an “activist, Obama-appointed judge.”

Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. of U.S. District Court of Northern California is a former federal prosecutor whose nomination was approved by the U.S. Senate in 2014.

Gilliam, 51, has stood up to Trump’s controversial and sometimes unilateral actions before:

  • In January, he partially blocked administration rules that would’ve permitted employers claiming moral objections to opt out of covering women’s birth control as part of the Affordable Care Act.
  • On May 24, Gilliam granted a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump administration from redirecting funds under a pretext of a “national emergency” to pay for a wall at the U.S./Mexico border (later overturned).

Despite being blasted as an Obama supporter (besides being nominated by Obama, Gilliam did donate $6,900 to Obama’s 2008 campaign and $14,500 to his 2012 reelection bid, according to the Federal Election Commission), the Oakland judge was indirectly defended by conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who rebuked critics of the independent judiciary based on presidents who nominated them.

“We do not have ‘Obama judges’ or ‘Trump judges,’ ‘Bush judges’ or ‘Clinton judges’,” Roberts said. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal rights to those appearing before them.”

Bill Knight



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