Ginsburg abandoned judicial propriety to wrestle in the mud with a candidate she detests.
(Above, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on May 8, 2006, in Washington, D.C.)
RBG Just Risked Her Legacy to Insult Trump
Why she did it.
By Mark Joseph Stern
I think that it is all President Barrack Obama’s fault
Hillary Clinton helped him with the Voodoo spell
Greatest Supreme Court Judge ever, baring none!
I cannot say that
I am not a member of the republican congress
of complete buffoons!
Donald Trump is not an ordinary presidential candidate, or an ordinary Republican.
He has proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States;
called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals;
Supported the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants;
Routinely treated women with sexist disdain;
Advocated for torture of suspected terrorists;
Moreover, generally dismissed the rule of law.
He is, a fascist.
And those are his
I can say that because.
He is the leader of those self-made Jester and their Republican presidential nominees.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has decided to take a stand against a major party’s presidential candidate in a way that she—and arguably no prior justice—has ever done before. Over the course of several interviews, the justice has spent the last few days hammering Donald Trump for his reckless campaign and outrageous policies, suggesting that a President Trump would pose a serious danger to the republic. Her explicitly political statements set off a familiar firestorm about whether Ginsburg had “crossed the line,” sending the conservative blogosphere in particular into howling fantods. Critics on the left and right have criticized Ginsburg’s comments as explosive, unprecedented, and unethical.
They are. That’s the point.
To recap the controversy, Ginsburg’s campaign began with a light jab at Trump in a Thursday interview, in which the justice admitted she didn’t “want to think about” the possibility of a Trump presidency. Then, on Friday, Ginsburg told the New York Times’ Adam Liptak, “I can’t imagine what this place would be—I can’t imagine what the country
would be—with Donald Trump as our president.” Days after her Times interview, Ginsburg told CNN’s Joan Biskupic that Trump is a “faker” with “no consistency” and she criticized his refusal to release his tax returns. “He really has an ego,” she said (correctly and understatedly).
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.
You don’t need to be a judicial ethicist to see the wisdom of this principle. Trump is a litigious man; should he take a campaign-related lawsuit to the court, Ginsburg will now surely be pressed to recuse herself. And of course, more significantly, these calls for recusal would accompany every case involving a possible Trump administration. (Through the Department of Justice, the executive branch is tasked with defending federal laws and presidential actions in court.) Moreover, Ginsburg’s comments all but begged Trump to respond—which he did on Tuesday, with a surprisingly coherent rebuke.