The Atlantic

Not Even Andrew Jackson Went as Far as Trump in Attacking the Courts

The former president was critical of Chief Justice John Marshall’s rulings. But it was on constitutional, rather than political or personal, grounds.

Source: Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump’s attacks on the federal appellate judges considering a constitutional challenge to his immigration ban—he called the proceedings “disgraceful” and the courts “so political”—has provoked widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum. Even Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, said the criticisms were “demoralizing” and disheartening.”

Some might look for a historical precedent for Trump’s attacks in the alleged comments of Trump’s hero Andrew Jackson, who criticized Chief Justice John Marshall’s decision in a case involving the Cherokee Indians. “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it,” the former president allegedly said. In fact, Jackson, whose portrait hangs in Trump’s office, provides no historical support for Trump’s unprecedented personal assault on the motives of judges evaluating the constitutionality of his executive orders. Jackson criticized Marshall on constitutional, rather than political, terms, and he ultimately required Congress and the states to acknowledge the Supreme Court’s authority to interpret the Constitution, rather than

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