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Trump attacks on judges 'demoralising': Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch

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By Alasdair Sandford  with REUTERS
Trump attacks on judges 'demoralising': Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch

Donald Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch has criticised the president’s Twitter attacks on judges as “demoralising” and “abhorrent”.

He did not do so publicly, but his comments were confirmed by a Democratic Senator who met him on Wednesday, and his own spokesman – Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist.

The senator, Richard Blumenthal who represents Connecticut, is on the Judiciary Committee due to hold a hearing to confirm Gorsuch’s appointment. Republicans will need Democratic votes to see the nomination through the Senate.

Blumenthal – who has called on the Republican Party to stand up to Trump’s attacks – told reporters after his meeting with Gorsuch that he hoped the nominee would “be more vehement publicly” in his criticism of the president.

“He certainly expressed to me that he is disheartened by the demoralising, abhorrent comments made by President Trump about the judiciary,” the Senator said.

The president used several Tweets to launch an attack on the “so-called” judge who put on ice his temporary travel ban on refugees and people from some Muslim-majority countries, calling the decision “ridiculous”.

On Wednesday Donald Trump broadened his attack in an address to police and law enforcement officers in Washington.

“Courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what is right,” the president said.

He read from the law he cited to justify the travel ban, quoting it selectively and adding his own interpretation. He argued the law clearly allowed a president to suspend any classes of people from entering the country if he believed they threatened national security.

The row comes as a federal appeals court in San Francisco considering the travel ban is due to rule in the coming days.

It is expected to decide on whether US District Judge James Robart acted properly in temporarily halting the enforcement of Trump’s ban.

The case is likely to end up in the US Supreme Court, which is ideologically split with four liberal justices and four conservatives – pending the Senate’s decision on Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch, a conservative.