Even during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump showed that he is willing to pick fights with judges, and he’s continued this feud because of frustration over his shut-down Muslim ban. Some, including former Vice President Joe Biden, believe this could lead to a dangerous situation. Biden said that Trump picking fights with judges could eventually “delegitimize the courts,” and in turn, this threatens the separation of powers.
Biden, who spoke at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Thursday, did not mention Trump by name, but reading between the lines, there was no one else who fit the description. Biden believes that criticizing a particular branch of the government could take a turn down an irreversible road:
“What worries me the most [is the] almost drumbeat of denigration of the institutional structures that govern us. When you delegitimize the courts, you delegitimize the legislative body. It’s corrosive. And it makes it impossible to reach a compromise.”
When Trump’s Muslim ban wasn’t reinstated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, he took his frustration out on Twitter, decrying the judges for hampering the safety of the American people. Trump may even bypass courts to get the job done.
This cavalier attitude could have a broad effect. Trump’s attitude towards courts has led to discomfort for his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. And even more importantly, Trump’s supporters could adopt his sentiments, which would lead to more people questioning the entire judicial branch.