Donald Trump’s continued verbal attacks on the judges overseeing his cases have raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary. Here’s the whole story.
That’s a lot of Crimes
Donald Trump, facing an astonishing 91 criminal charges, including 17 related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and a significant civil trial, has launched a series of personal attacks on two judges overseeing these cases.
Risks to the System
This has raised concerns among former judges and legal experts, who argue that such attacks threaten the judiciary and undermine the United States judicial system.
Amid mounting concerns about Trump’s attacks on judges and prosecutors, federal and state judges have issued specific gag orders to restrain his public outbursts.
Physical Attacks More Likely
The attacks are not only perceived as detrimental to judicial independence but can potentially incite violence. Retired Massachusetts judge and Harvard Law School lecturer Nancy Gertner noted, “Trump’s attacks on judges poison the civil atmosphere and make physical attacks… more likely.”
In her view, Trump’s behavior challenges the very role of judges.
Play For Time
Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team has been making efforts to delay his trial on charges related to classified documents mishandling, to push it beyond the 2024 election.
All Comes Down to Fundraising
Trump is running for president again and framing the charges against him as politically motivated actions by Democrats to energize his base and raise funds.
Disrupt and Distract
Legal experts argue that Trump’s tactics may not succeed in dismissing the criminal and civil charges brought against him. However, they can disrupt the judicial system by delaying some trials through various court motions.
To date, Trump’s verbal attacks on judges have mirrored the harsh personal attacks he has made against the special counsel Jack Smith, whom he has labeled as “deranged,” “crooked,” and a “thug.”
In Full View
Trump also criticized Tanya Chutkan, the Washington DC judge overseeing four-count election interference charges filed by Smith.
Chutkan issued a limited gag order on Trump, restricting him from “publicly attacking” witnesses, prosecutors, or court staff involved in the federal case while allowing him to argue that the prosecution is politically motivated.
Another Gag Order
Similarly, the New York judge Arthur Engoron, presiding over a civil suit by the state attorney general, issued a limited gag order on Trump after several attacks against him and his law clerk.
Engoron’s order aims to curtail personal attacks on court staff.
Testing the Boundaries
Trump’s verbal attacks on judges, part of his usual bravado and attempts to stoke controversy, are perceived as an attempt to test the boundaries of what he can get away with.
Robert Smith, an ex-New York Court of Appeals judge, described Trump’s actions as those of a “petulant nine-year-old”.
Jamie Raskin, a Democratic congressman with over 25 years of experience teaching constitutional law, commented, “The law and justice system are just a favor bank in Trump world. He’s like a mob boss. For him, a judge is either a lackey in his pocket or his sworn enemy.
Confident in Success
However, despite these childish outbursts and Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the charges against him by attacking judges, legal experts remain confident that the courts and the judicial system will weather the challenges.
They believe Trump’s strategy is more about appealing to his supporters and delaying trials than achieving legal success.
Shielding from Consequences
While the legal battles continue, the country’s judicial process is being tested.
According to some experts, Donald Trump’s ultimate goal is to secure the presidency in 2024, which he believes will shield him from the legal consequences of his previous actions.
Took You Long Enough
The news has been met with some trepidation, with one highly-rated comment reading, “They’re just noticing this now?! He’s been acting like a crime boss for years…”
A Bad Mob Boss
Another user commented on Trump’s bullying tactics: “It’s like he watched the movies and emulates his favorite characters without understanding how the organization works.”
Tough To Care
Other commenters seemed to be fatigued by the entire ordeal, with one user commenting, “Insanity is literally seeing headline after headline about how dangerous this guy is and yet nothing ever happens. I literally do not care anymore.”
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