The Mask has dropped from Justice Ruth Ginsberg:
“I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” Ginsburg told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
Ginsburg, on the high court since 1993, told the Times the prospect of a Trump presidency reminded her of the type of wry comment her late husband might have made.
“‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,'” Justice Ginsburg said.
Not only did the mask of impartiality drop she refused to put it back on and doubled down:
“He is a faker,” she said of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”
As you might have heard this got some critique from Donald Trump but it also got a lot of critique from liberals as well:
The New York Times:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling. …
In this election cycle in particular, the potential of a new president to affect the balance of the court has taken on great importance, with the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. As Justice Ginsburg pointed out, other justices are nearing an age when retirement would not be surprising. That makes it vital that the court remain outside the presidential process. And just imagine if this were 2000 and the resolution of the election depended on a Supreme Court decision. Could anyone now argue with a straight face that Justice Ginsburg’s only guide would be the law?
The Washington Post
I first wrote about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s controversial comments about Donald Trump on Monday. Since then, the situation has erupted into an all-out feud, and now the editorial boards of both the New York Times and The Washington Post have weighed in against Ginsburg’s decision to insert herself into the 2016 campaign…I’ll say at the top what I’ve said before: It’s hard if not impossible to find a direct analog to what Ginsburg has said in recent days. Supreme Court experts I’ve spoken to were unaware of any justices getting so directly and vocally involved — or involved at all, really — in a presidential campaign.
There is really very little to debate about the ethics of Ginsburg’s comments. They were plainly a violation, the kind of partisan partiality that judicial ethics codes strive to prevent. But Ginsburg, who is a quietly canny judicial and political strategist, surely knows that her comments were an ethical error. That leads to a fascinating question: Why would the justice risk her reputation and good standing—and even her power to hear cases involving Trump—for a few quick jabs at the candidate? The answer, I suspect, is that Ginsburg has decided to sacrifice some of her prestige in order to send as clear a warning signal about Trump as she possibly can. The subtext of Ginsburg’s comments, of her willingness to comment, is that Trump poses an unparalleled threat to this country—a threat so great that she will abandon judicial propriety in order to warn against looming disaster.
To be clear, what Ginsburg is doing right now—pushing her case against Trump through on-the-record interviews—is not just unethical; it’s dangerous. As a general rule, justices should refrain from commenting on politics, period. That dictate applies to 83-year-old internet folk heroes as strictly as it applies to anybody else who dons judicial robes. The independence of our judiciary—and just as critically, its appearance of impartiality—hinges on a consistent separation between itself and the other branches of government. That means no proclamations of loyalty to any candidate, or admissions of distaste of any other.
Even CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin was not happy as reported by Newsbusters:
No, I don’t think there’s any chance she will resign, but I think it’s appropriate to criticize her about this. This is not how Supreme Court justices have talked traditionally. They do not get involved in day-to-day political controversies. They do not endorse or un-endorse candidates.
Describing himself as a “great admirer” of Justice Ginsburg, he then got to the subject of recusal as he added:
And I think there are lots of good reasons for that, not least of which, something involving the election may come before the Supreme Court in a Bush V. Gore type case. And I think she’d have to recuse herself at this point.
I just think, as someone who is a great admirer of Justice Ginsburg, she is completely wrong in this situation, and she should not be making these kinds of political statements.
And cartoonists as well:
A lot of people are upset about this ethical violation.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a complete abrogation of her duty as a judge on the highest court in the land and an action unworthy of her and her position. Furthermore it sets a horrible precedent for the future.
However there is one other consideration.
If there is one thing that anyone who watches the court knows it that any 5-4 decision will involve a “conservative’ justice voting with liberals. You will not and have not seen any of the liberals, Kagan, Sotomayor or Ginsberg being the deciding vote for a case going in the direction of conservatives.
Justice Ginsberg’s public statements make it plan for all to see that our liberal friends on the Supreme Court are simple ideologues and that their vote on any key issue dividing left and right would be no different if every brief in support of the liberal position consisted of the sentence: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” repeated ad infinitum.
Ann Althouse gets it
In the case of Justice Ginsburg, Trump isn’t inferring bias and politics from whatgroup she belongs to. It’s a reaction to her particular statements. It’s individual. She openly displayed her political leanings and her desire for political allies on the Court and her intent, going forward, to use those allies to get to a majority that would overrule cases that recognize important constitutional rights — includingHeller, the case that says there is an individual right to bear arms.
And here’s where it becomes clear that the NYT editorial proceeds upon the second reason I posited above, that Justice Ginsburg’s particular political statements are dangerous and damaging to the political cause she and the NYT support. “In this election cycle in particular,” it’s important to keep voters believing that judges will be impartial and above politics, and here’s Ginsburg “call[ing] her own commitment to impartiality into question.” The Times tries to pass this off as Ginsburg “choos[ing] to descend toward [Trump’s] level,” but she’s not joining Trump, she’s proving him right: Judges are political, and that’s a bad thing. Perhaps Curiel didn’t deserve the criticism, but Ginsburg does, and it’s very irritating to the NYT, it would seem, because the Curiel incident was so effectively used against Trump, and then along comes Ginsburg displaying herself as pleased to be political.
Justice Ginsburg unethical behavior has provided a valuable service to the entire nature by allowing them to see that lie that the NY Times and other want to keep hidden. The question becomes will the American people react the way the NYT and the left fears they will?
One can only hope but no matter how they do, rest assured the American people will get the president and the justice system we deserve.
Sorta Update: Justice Ginsburg has finally figured out she was not helping her cause.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday she regrets remarks she made earlier this week to CNN and other news outlets criticizing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” Ginsburg said in a statement. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.”
The best part of this non-apology is it allowed Donald Trump the high ground in response:
“It wasn’t really an apology, but we have to move on anyway. It’s just something that should not have taken place,” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said.
“It’s just a very disappointing moment for me because the Supreme Court is above that kind of rhetoric, those words. … But she acknowledged she made a mistake, and I’ll accept that.”
The greatest ally Trump has in this election are the people who oppose him.
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