‘Dangerous in the Extreme’: Philadelphia Bar Association Rebukes Trump’s ‘Attacks’ on Judiciary

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump unleashing multiple diatribes against the judge, jury foreperson and prosecutors involved in the Roger Stone case, the Philadelphia Bar Association on Wednesday issued a rebuke of conduct and communications “meant to exert undue influence on the judiciary.”

Writing on behalf of the nation’s oldest bar association, Hon. A. Michael Snyder, a retired judge, said such attacks against the federal judiciary must not be allowed to continue unabated.

“Recently, we have seen a course of conduct, including communications meant to exert undue influence on the judiciary, that seems intent on undermining the rule of law and disrupting the system of checks and balances,” the statement said. “Such attacks are dangerous in the extreme. We cannot allow them to continue. We call for an end to these unwarranted attacks on the judiciary and for all Americans to speak up in defense of the Constitution and our democratic principles”

Though the bar association did not mention anyone by name (the American Bar Association did the same thing recently), it was clearly aimed at President Trump. He has called Judge Amy Berman Jackson “biased” and said the guilty verdict handed down by the jury was a “total miscarriage of justice.”

Trump also echoed conservative media outlets by directly going after the private citizen who served as the foreperson of the Stone jury, claiming she “tainted” the entire process.

“There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case. Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge,” Trump tweeted Tuesday as Stone’s attorneys argued that he was entitled to a new trial. “Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!”

Judge Jackson similarly took time during Tuesday’s hearing to denounce Trump’s conduct.

“The president of the United States used his Twitter platform to disseminate a particular point of view about a juror,” she said. “While judges may have volunteered for their positions, jurors are not volunteers. They are deserving of the public’s respect, and they deserve to have their privacy respected.”

The association echoed that sentiment, writing that an independent judiciary “is a necessity if we are to function as a democracy and not as an authoritarian society.”

“Judges need to know that their lawful judgments will be upheld, and that their very legitimacy may not be questioned,” Snyder wrote. “We call for an end to these unwarranted attacks on the judiciary and for all Americans to speak up in defense of the Constitution and our democratic principles.”

The Stone case sparked national controversy when, earlier this month, the DOJ stepped in and revised initial sentencing recommendation prosecutors submitted. The initial one called for 7 to 9 years, while the latter requested 3 to 4. The move prompted four prosecutors to withdraw from the case in protest.

[image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.

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