Trump’s ignorance about what judges do
Add this to his ignorance on foreign policy and the California drought.
Earlier in this season’s campaign, for example, he was asked about judges he might want to nominate to the Supreme Court. “Well, I’d probably appoint people that would look very seriously at her e-mail disaster, because it’s a criminal activity, and I would appoint people that would look very seriously at that to start off with,” Trump said in a phone interview with ABC News, referring to Hillary Clinton. “What she’s getting away with is absolutely murder. You talk about a case—now that’s a real case.”
For starters, Trump’s statement reveals substantial ignorance about how the Supreme Court works. The justices don’t initiate cases or investigations; they hear appeals of cases decided in the lower courts. More important, the statement reveals Trump’s mindset when it comes to judges. As in most other areas, Trump is transactional about the judiciary. He appears to have no interest in legal philosophy per se; rather, he divides judges, as he divides most others, into the categories of friend and foe. What matters is not how judges think, but where they come out—on Trump’s side, or not.