President Trump said Wednesday that he has "absolutely" considered proposals that would split up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where judges have blocked two of his executive actions.
"Absolutely, I have," Trump said of considering 9th Circuit breakup proposals during a far-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at the White House. "There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It's outrageous."
"Everybody immediately runs to the 9th Circuit. And we have a big country. We have lots of other locations. But they immediately run to the 9th Circuit. Because they know that's like, semi-automatic," Trump said.
His comments came one day after U.S. District Judge William Orrick temporarily blocked Trump's efforts to withhold funds from any municipality that refuses to cooperate with immigration enforcement officers. Orrick, based in San Francisco, argued that Trump had overstepped his authority in January when he directed the Justice Department to put immigration-related conditions on grants for so-called sanctuary cities that may not be directly related to law enforcement. The case, if appealed, would go before the 9th Circuit.
Other judges on the court halted two different versions of an executive action aimed at tightening vetting requirements for immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, because both actions called for a temporary suspension of some immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.
"The language could not be any clearer. I mean, the language on the ban, it reads so easy that a reasonably good student in the first grade will fully understand it. And they don't even mention the words in their rejection on the ban," Trump said. "And the same thing with this [sanctuary city decision]. I mean, when you have people that are being enabled to commit crime. And in San Francisco, when you look at Kate Steinle being shot and here is the court, you know, right in that same general area. And when you look at a Kate Steinle, when you look at so many other things."
Trump was referring to a young woman in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, who was gunned down by an illegal immigrant in 2015. He has frequently pointed to Steinle's murder as evidence that sanctuary city policies can be harmful to American citizens.
"Sanctuary cities have been very, very dangerous, very, very bad. And, you know, we've done a great job on law enforcement, we've done a great job at the border," Trump said. "And all of our most talented people say sanctuary cities are a disaster."
Republicans have long criticized the 9th Circuit for its perceived liberal leanings and its enormous geographical reach, which has led to bureaucratic backlogs.
GOP lawmakers have repeatedly introduced legislation that would carve out several states under the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction and create a new court designed to lighten the Ninth's caseload.
The 9th Circuit hears appeals from courts in nine West Coast states and two U.S. territories. Of its 25 active judges, 18 were appointed by Democratic presidents.
Trump said Wednesday that opponents of his policies have engaged in "judge shopping" in their efforts to find a sympathetic judicial platform for their partisan objections.
"You see judge shopping, or what's gone on with these people, they immediately run to the 9th Circuit," Trump said. "It's got close to an 80 percent reversal period, and what's going on in the 9th Circuit is a shame."