While speaking to the civil rights committee of Cleveland’s Anti-Defamation League on February 8, US District Judge Dan Polster had some strong words for President Donald Trump.
Polster was discussing the case where Seattle District Judge James Robart blocked Trump’s executive order for a Muslim travel ban. This incident led Trump to deride Robart as a “so-called judge” in a Tweet. Polster denounced Trump’s response, saying that “[I]f you start calling into question the legitimacy of someone, that undermines the system.”
Polster continued, “I think to say it publicly, that’s his right…. But it also calls into question, and some might even say forfeits, his or her own legitimacy.” He also praised the Constitution and said that the Founders designed it the way they did to avoid a president who might want to become “a king or dictator.”
Polster said that he did not believe any federal judge would be intimidated by Trump’s disapproval. “We took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and that means a lot,”
Polster emphasized that he did not think it was wrong for Trump, or anyone, to have crticized a judge. “But when you call into question the legitimacy of a federal district court judge, that’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.”
Robart’s decision was most recently upheld by the Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals, and is expected to be appealed to the US Supreme Court eventually.
Judge Polster was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1997.