George Conway scorches Trump's 'misleading' attack on 9th circuit court of appeals


Kellyanne Conway’s attorney husband went toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump on Thursday, this time defending the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals even as Trump bashed it again — and again.

George Conway, a conservative Republican who would not typically defend rulings of the court criticized for its more liberal leanings, accused Trump of using “misleading’ statistics to attack the 9th Circuit.

Trump ripped the court as a “complete and total disaster” in a tweet Thursday, called it a “thorn in our side” in a phone call with service members, and told reporters later that a judge who “knows nothing about it” made a “ridiculous ruling” against his immigrant asylum crackdown.

A day earlier he slammed the court because its decisions are “overturned more than any circuit in the country, 79%.”

Conway noted in a tweet that an average of 74 percent of all court rulings across the nation reviewed by the Supreme Court were overturned last year. He said the rates are generally high because the top court specifically picks rulings it’s more likely to overturn.

Total numbers of 9th Circuit cases overturned are higher because the court is “by far” the largest by both docket size and number judges. The court covers a third of the entire country, including nine states, two territories and one fifth of the nation’s population.

The 9th Circuit actually ranked third in Supreme Court reversal percentages out of a total of 13 circuit courts in the nation from 2010 to 2015, according to an analysis by Politifact, based on statistics from the Supreme Court’s own records.

The 6th Circuit Court, which serves Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee, had an 87 percent reversal rate from 2010 to 2015. The 11th Circuit (serving Alabama, Florida and Georgia) had an 85 percent reversal rate during that same period. The 3rd Circuit (including Delaware, New Jersy and Pennsylvania) had a 78 percent rate — a single point behind the 9th Circuit’s record.

University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck came up with similar calculations for the last five court terms, with the 9th Circuit landing in fourth place.

Trump went on an unprecedented presidential rampage against the 9th Circuit after Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ordered a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from barring migrants who cross the southern border illegally from seeking asylum. The 9th Circuit has not yet been asked to rule on Tigar’s decision.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts defended the 9th Circuit after Trump’s attack, and noted that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Trump’s response was to quote Fox News on the 79 percent figure.

The Washington Post estimates that the Trump administration has lost a phenomenally high 40 to 50 major cases in the federal court system — across the country — and that the issue is not partisan judges but more likely a president overstepping constitutional bounds.

The American Bar Association issued a statement Wednesday sharply criticizing the president’s comments.

“Disagreeing with a court’s decision is everyone’s right, but when government officials question a court’s motives, mock its legitimacy or threaten retaliation due to an unfavorable ruling, they intend to erode the court’s standing and hinder the courts from performing their constitutional duties,” the ABA declared.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.