George Conway, an attorney who was on the shortlist for a position at the Justice Department under President Trump and is married to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, hit back at the president’s attacks against a federal court that keeps blocking his policies.
Trump raged about the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Twitter after a judge blocked his attempt to only allow asylum requests at ports of entry at the US-Mexico border.
Trump claimed that the court is a “complete and total disaster” and later told reporters that a judge “who knows nothing about it” made a “ridiculous ruling” against his crackdown on asylum seekers.
He claimed, wrongly, that the 9th Circuit Court’s decisions are “overturned more than any circuit in the country, 79%.”
Conway responded by citing some facts, pointing out that 74 percent of all court rulings that are reviewed by the Supreme Court were overturned last year.
“The reversal rate for all courts in the Supreme Court last year was 74%,” he wrote. “All these statistics tell us is that one major factor in the Supreme Court’s selection of which cases to review is whether they may have been wrongly decided.”
“The number of Ninth Circuit cases reviewed and reversed was high, but the Ninth Circuit is by far largest federal circuit by number of judges and size of docket,” he explained.
“Anyway, to put the point more simply, the Supreme Court doesn’t usually take cases to affirm them, which is why the statistic the President is citing is misleading,” he added. “As Adam Liptak wrote in yesterday’s New York Times, the Ninth Circuit covers ‘a fifth of the nation’s population and a third of its land, in nine states and two territories”—hence the huge docket.’”
More facts: Texas law professor Steve Vladeck also noted that Trump’s claim that the 9th Circuit is overturned more than any other is just plain wrong. Three courts had a higher rate of cases reversed by the Supreme Court, including 92 percent in the 3rd Circuit.
ABA hits back: The American Bar Association issued a statement slamming the president's criticism of the court.
“Disagreeing with a court’s decision is everyone’s right, but when government officials question a court’s motives, mock its legitimacy or threaten retaliation due to an unfavorable ruling, they intend to erode the court’s standing and hinder the courts from performing their constitutional duties,” the statement said.