Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the nation's other leading judges have remained silent about President Donald Trump's controversial pardon Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, CNN reported.
By pardoning Arpaio, Trump effectively threw out a U.S. district court judge's conviction of the former Maricopa County sheriff for criminal contempt. Arpaio had defied another judge's orders in a case over the one-time sheriff targeting Latinos.
Roberts had no comment, but in the past, the late Justice William Rehnquist publicly defended the judiciary, CNN noted. At one point, Rehnquist called the independence of the judiciary "one of the crown jewels of our system of government."
In the past, Trump has been critical of certain judges.
He had said during the campaign that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, born in the U.S. and of Mexican heritage, would not be fair in a case involving Trump University because of Trump's proposal for a wall along the border of Mexico.
As president, Trump called U.S. District Court Judge James Robart a "so-called judge" after Robart had temporarily blocked the travel ban order.
Without mentioning Trump, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee later wrote: "Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are accepted principles."
Others, however, are speaking out in the Arpaio case.
"The crime that Arpaio was convicted of committing – criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge's order – showed a blatant disregard for the authority of the judiciary," American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass said. "Granting Arpaio an expedited pardon sends the wrong message to the public."
Jens David Ohlin, vice dean and professor at Cornell Law School, said the Arpaio pardon was disturbing, particularly because of Trump's past relationship with the judiciary, The Washington Post reported.
"Ever since the campaign and the beginning of his administration he's had a very contentious relationship with the judiciary and hasn't shown much respect for either members of the judiciary or the proper role of the judiciary within our constitutional structure," Ohlin said.
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