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Blaming judges is 'corrosive,' says a judge who ruled against Trump

HONOLULU (Reuters) - One of three federal appeals court judges who last month upheld a ruling that blocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s first try at a travel ban said on Thursday it was “corrosive to the justice system” when litigants attack judges for their decisions.

Judge Richard Clifton of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest in a series of judges to draw criticism from Trump after Clifton and two colleagues refused to reinstate an executive order temporarily barring entry by people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Shortly after the Feb. 9 ruling, Trump tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” He also told reporters that the ruling was “political.”

“It’s easy to blame the referee when you don’t like the result,” Clifton said in a speech to the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which is meeting in Honolulu.

“It is corrosive to the system when a disappointing result, or result disappointing to you, is responded to by blaming the referee,” said Clifton, who did not mention Trump by name.

He urged the state attorneys general not to blame judges, saying it could lead to a “breakdown in law and order.”

Clifton, appointed to the court by former Republican President George W. Bush, was discussing the executive order case, but did not comment on any substantive issues about the travel ban.

The White House had no immediate comment on his speech.

Trump has frequently attacked judges who rule against him. Last month, he called a Seattle federal judge who ruled against the first travel ban a “so-called judge.” During last year’s presidential campaign, he said a San Diego federal judge overseeing a fraud lawsuit against Trump University was biased because of his Mexican heritage.

Reporting by Dan Levine in Honolulu; Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson in Washington; Writing by David Ingram; Editing by Peter Cooney