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Trump lashes out at Supreme Court, tries to turn DACA decision into a campaign issue

President Trump at an event in the White House on Wednesday.
President Trump at an event in the White House on Wednesday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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President Trump lashed out at the Supreme Court on Thursday after being dealt a second major defeat this week, calling its decisions “shotgun blasts into the face” of conservatives and questioning whether the high court “doesn’t like me.”

His broadsides, in a pair of tweets, came shortly after the court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Earlier this week, it ruled that a landmark federal civil rights law from the 1960s protects gay and transgender workers — a proposition the administration had opposed.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” Trump said in one tweet. “We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”

"Dreamers" across the country celebrated the Supreme Court ruling on June 18 that blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA program. (Video: Alonso Parra/The Washington Post)

In the second tweet, Trump asked: “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”

Supreme Court rules against Trump’s attempt to end DACA, a win for undocumented ‘Dreamers’ brought to U.S. as children

Trump has successfully placed two justices on the court during his tenure, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, securing a conservative majority on most issues. It is among the achievements he frequently touts when making the case for reelection.

In the two decisions in question this week, at least one of the conservative justices has sided with the court’s four liberals.

Both Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. did so in Monday’s ruling that said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes gay and transgender employees. That opinion was written by Gorsuch.

The pandemic redefined where essential work happens in America and brought recognition to seasonal agricultural workers under the H-2A visa program. (Video: The Washington Post)

Roberts, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote Thursday’s ruling, which provided a reprieve for nearly 650,000 participants — known as “dreamers” — in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced by President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect qualified young immigrants from deportation.

In tweets later Thursday, Trump called the DACA decision “a highly political one, and seemingly not based on the law.”

He also cited other rulings with which he was not happy, including one from last year that froze his administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form sent to every U.S. household. He also cited a decision not hear a case challenging California’s “sanctuary” law that forbids local law enforcement in most cases from cooperating with aggressive federal action to identify and deport undocumented immigrants.

Trump said the decisions “tell you only one thing, we need NEW JUSTICES of the Supreme Court.”

He said he would release by Sept. 1 a new list of “Conservative Supreme Court Justice nominees” from which he would choose if he makes additional appointments. And he raised alarm about what he said could happen to the court if former vice president Joe Biden is elected to the White House in November and Democrats take control of the Senate.

“If the Radical Left Democrats assume power, your Second Amendment, Right to Life, Secure Borders, and Religious Liberty, among many other things, are OVER and GONE!” he wrote.

Trump also appeared to indicate that he would not seek a long-term legislative remedy to the fate of the DACA recipients but would again attempt to scuttle the program.

In his ruling, Roberts said the administration did not follow procedures required by law and did not properly weigh how ending the program would affect those who had come to rely on its protections against deportation and in favor of the ability to work legally.

“As President of the United States, I am asking for a legal solution on DACA, not a political one, consistent with the rule of law,” Trump said. “The Supreme Court is not willing to give us one, so now we have to start this process all over again.”

Robert Barnes contributed to this report.