US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has taken the extraordinary step of rebuking President Donald Trump’s criticism of a federal judge.
Mr Trump on Tuesday called a jurist who ruled against his asylum policy an “Obama judge”.
The president’s gibe has provoked a stern statement from the head of America’s highest court.
It is extremely rare for the judiciary, let alone its head, to clash with the executive branch of the US government.
“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” the chief justice told the Associated Press.
“What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”
Speaking on the eve of America’s Thanksgiving holiday, he said an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for”.
Chief Justice Roberts – who was appointed to lead the court in 2005 by President George W Bush – was responding to the news agency’s request for reaction to Mr Trump’s remark a day earlier.
The Republican president had spoken out following US District Judge Jon Tigar’s ruling against a presidential executive order denying illegal migrants the right to seek asylum.
Mr Trump has previously lambasted federal judges for ruling against his policies.