President Trump’s attack on the judiciary ‘sinister’, says The Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee

Conor Dignam SC, Chairman of The Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee has criticised Trump, saying "President Trump's personal attacks on US judges for performing their duties has no place in a democracy based on the rule of law." He also believes that it a sinister trend, for which Trump should be condemned.

The statement comes following President Donald Trump defiantly tweeting “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” on February 9, after a San Francisco federal appeals court upheld the suspension of his immigration ban.

Shortly after this decision was made Trump told the White House press pool “it's a political decision and we'll see them in court...it is a decision that we will win in my opinion very easily.”

The full statement from the The Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee reads:

“President Trump’s threatening Tweets directed at judges, appointed by his predecessors with the approval of the US Senate, as they implement the rule of law is an attack on democracy and another extremely concerning development in the regard and attitude towards the important role played by judges and the legal profession in protecting the rule of law,” he said.

“The unique role played by the judiciary as part of the system of checks and balances in a democracy is to act as the bulwark against the potential abuse of power by either or both of the other branches of government and to protect the human, civil and constitutional rights of individuals against unlawful acts of the Executive and Legislative branches. An attack on that role is a threat to individual human rights.

“This worrying trend of undermining the rule of law began last year when the UK tabloid media tarnished judges as ‘enemies of the people’ for their ruling on Article 50. Now we have an Executive head of State attacking judges who are required to act independently without fear or favour because he disagrees with their interpretation of the law.

“US Judges are sworn to “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon [him] under the Constitution…”. The US judges involved have performed their constitutional function and their decision is based on an independent, impartial interpretation of US law.

“There are serious concerns about the travel ban’s compliance with international human rights norms, preventing, as it does, individuals from applying to the US for asylum. There are obviously arguments about the constitutionality of the travel ban under American law because four separate judges have held that a stay is justified pending further argument. Yet still President Trump continues to slay mud at the judiciary.

“Ultimately, it is a matter for the US courts to determine whether Judge Robart and the three Appeal Court Judges were right or wrong. The judgements will and should be parsed and debated and disputed by academics, lawyers, politicians and citizens. Right or wrong, Judges, as individuals, should not be attacked for making those judgements. That is what is asked and required of them in a democracy. Surely it is in the interests of all American citizens – and the world – that America remains a democracy?”

 

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