At 6:29 a.m. Monday,
These evidently unlawyered ejaculations followed a tweet over the weekend in which Trump linked the need for the "Travel Ban" – terminology his press secretary has foresworn – to Saturday's terrorist attack in London.
"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough," the president tweeted as reports of the violence were coming in. "We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!"
As Garrett Epps noted in the Atlantic, Trump had undermined the arguments of his own acting solicitor general, including the assertion that the revised order represents the president's own considered judgment about the needs of national security and is not a Muslim ban or a ban of any kind. Epps added: "It is more dangerous to be Donald Trump's friend than his enemy."
More doubtful is the suggestion that by trying to pressure the federal courts, Trump has jeopardized their independence. The Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal legal think tank, sounded this alarm Monday, warning that Trump's "troubling pattern of attacking judges and the courts for rulings he disagrees with . . . threatens our entire system of government."
If anything, I suspect that Trump's tweets have stiffened the spine of the judiciary, including members of the Supreme Court.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Gorsuch will rule against Trump if the court takes up the issue of the executive order. But if he did, it wouldn’t be the first time a justice disappointed the president to whom he or she owed his position on the bench. Justice
The fact that judges are inured to Trump's tweets doesn't exonerate him for attacking "so-called judges" or claiming, as he did in a tweet on Monday, that the courts are "slow and political."
Presidential contempt for the courts can undermine public confidence in them. But Trump's tweets about the courts arguably have brought more contempt on himself.