President Trump led the annual White House turkey pardoning Tuesday, offering traditional words of thanksgiving—and less traditional jabs at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The president said he would issue two turkeys, Peas and Carrots, a presidential pardon in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday. While the origins of the annual ceremony are unclear, the White House has made the turkey pardoning an official tradition since the George H. W. Bush administration.
“Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that your pardons won’t be enjoined by the Ninth Circuit,” Trump said. “Always happens. They’re guaranteed.”
Ninth Circuit judges have repeatedly blocked Trump administration policies on immigration, including the travel ban on mostly Muslim-majority countries, efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and most recently a rule restricting asylum.
On Monday, Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California blocked the Trump administration rule that would bar asylum for migrants crossing the southern U.S. border outside of designated ports of entry.
Tigar said the new asylum rule “irreconcilably conflicts with the [Immigration and Nationality Act] and the expressed intent of Congress,” which stated in the INA that migrants who enter the United States outside ports of entry are still eligible for asylum.
According to Wednesday reports from the Associated Press, Trump called Tigar an “Obama judge,” and critiqued the ruling, saying, “Every case that gets filed in the Ninth Circuit, we get beaten. And then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won.”
Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare statement Wednesday rebuking Trump’s comments. Roberts said the United States doesn’t have “Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”
Tigar imposed a nationwide injunction until Dec. 19. He’ll then meet with lawyers on both sides of the suit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of immigration nonprofits, to review whether a preliminary injunction should be imposed.
Department of Justice Civil Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart had argued in Monday’s hearing that the Trump administration’s new rule did not conflict with the INA because it still allowed migrants to seek asylum if they entered through designated ports.