President Donald Trump is reportedly displeased with Justice Neil Gorsuch, after Gorsuch joined with the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc to strike down a federal removal statute Tuesday.
The report marks the second time the president has reportedly expressed disappointment in Gorsuch, widely regarded in Republican circles as one of his administration’s greatest accomplishments.
The Washington Post reports the president was “incensed” that the justice joined a coalition of Democratic appointees led by Justice Elena Kagan, which found a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) unconstitutionally vague. The administration had argued in defense of the statute. Trump told unnamed associates he was concerned Gorsuch would not prove a reliable conservative.
Gorsuch’s concurring opinion in the case, Sessions v. Dimaya, relies heavily on conservative legal theories that, if applied, would dramatically circumscribe the growing power of federal bureaucrats. The opinion is likely the opening salvo of a campaign against federal agency power which could last decades.
This week’s incident is not the only time Trump has lashed out at his own Supreme Court appointee. After Gorsuch told Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut that he found Trump’s attacks on federal judges “disheartening and demoralizing,” the president allegedly considered pulling his nomination.
“He’s probably going to end up being a liberal like the rest of them,” Trump reportedly fumed to GOP lawmakers shortly after Blumenthal publicized the comments.
A White House spokesman denied Gorsuch’s nomination was ever in serious jeopardy, and Trump himself denounced the report on Twitter.
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