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Ginsburg apologizes for ‘ill-advised’ criticism of Trump

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., on Jan. 28. Ginsburg said she regrets comments on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON » Conceding her outspoken criticism of Donald Trump was “ill advised,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg apologized today in an effort to quiet mounting complaints that she improperly crossed a line into partisan politics.

Promising to be more discreet in the future, the leader of the court’s liberal wing said in a statement that judges should not comment on candidates for any public office.

“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” the 83-year-old justice said.

Ginsburg told The Associated Press last week that she did not want to think about the prospect of the Republican winning the presidency over Democrat Hillary Clinton. She escalated her criticism in subsequent media interviews, including calling Trump a “faker” who “really has an ego,” in a CNN interview.

Trump jumped into the fray on Wednesday. He tweeted that Ginsburg was an embarrassment for making “very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot – resign!” In subsequent tweets, Trump called Ginsburg “incompetent” and wondered whether she would apologize.

Other Republicans chimed in, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who called Ginsburg’s remarks “totally inappropriate.”

“She oughta stay out of it,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “It hurts the court when she does that.”

Ginsburg was appointed to the high court in 1993 by Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. She said in the AP interview that she expects the next president, “whoever she will be,” probably will make several Supreme Court appointments. Two other justices in their late 70s, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy, also could retire in the next few years.

The Supreme Court already had been an issue in the presidential campaign, even before Justice Antonin Scalia died in February. The battle over filling his seat elevated the court’s prominence even further. President Barack Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland in March, but Senate Republicans have refused to hold hearings or a vote on confirming him. They say Scalia’s seat should be filled by the next president.

The justices’ political leanings are easy to discern. Most spent years before they became judges in jobs that identified them as Democrats or Republicans. Chief Justice John Roberts worked in the White House counsel’s office during the Reagan administration. Breyer was a top Senate Judiciary Committee aide to Democratic icon Edward Kennedy.

Scalia’s 2004 duck-hunting trip with then-Vice President Dick Cheney prompted calls for Scalia to step aside from a Supreme Court case. He scoffed at the idea that his impartiality was in question, then voted in the majority to keep private the details of White House strategy sessions on energy policy.

Ginsburg’s remarks in separate interviews with AP, the New York Times and CNN were unusual in that she openly expressed her preference for one candidate over another.

The comments raised the question of whether she could remain fair if the court were asked to hear a case involving Trump, especially one over the outcome of the election as in 2000.

Ginsburg herself would decide whether she could take part.

“In the case of an election dispute, a call for Justice Ginsburg’s recusal is all but inevitable. She would decide the motion herself, however, and it seems likely that this retraction would lead her to reject it,” said Northwestern University law professor Steven Lubet.

Arthur Hellman, an ethics expert at the University of Pittsburgh, said the apology may not be enough.

“If she’s apologized, she’s apologized for saying publicly what she believes,” Hellman said.

It’s because of the earlier remarks that her impartiality could reasonably be questioned, Hellman said. “Her comment today doesn’t change that,” he said.

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  • I view Bill’s wife as a “faker” who “really has an ego,”.

    I suppose Ginsburg feels a loyalty to Bill for appointing her to such an important post. However, judges should be impartial. Does anyone still believe she’s “impartial” ???

    • Marauders_1959, and Justice Ginsburg was “extremely careless” in her statements relating to Mr. Trump. Now, who can trust her judicial statements verbal or written. Real bad, even with the apology.

    • Yes. It’s just so rare that someone as spectacularly ignorant about world affairs, the Constitution and the law as Mr. Trump runs for President.

      • Yes. It’s just so rare that someone as spectacularly ignorant about world affairs, the Constitution and the law as Justice Ginsburg. “Make America Great Again”

        • Which of her decisions do you question, and which points of law were mistaken?

          You don’t know anything, of course. That’s called a rhetorical question.

        • There is no law that bars SCOTUS justices from commenting on political candidates, just as there is no law that bars members of the legislative and executive branches of government from commenting on political candidates. While it may have been wiser for Justice Ginsburg to withhold comment, she was within the law, just as Donald Trump was within the law to use the bankruptcy laws to his advantage, and within the law to release his tax returns even while under audit from the IRS (which he still hasn’t released). America IS great and is destined to become even greater.

        • Klastri and Kauai. Ginsburg has people doing all the work. As two failed attorneys you should know that. What’s in your wallet? Your lying mother needs more money to run those children’s attack ads. Talk about being a hypocrite. Like she’s squeaky clean. She must have broken every mirror in her house. Hey, maybe she doesn’t have a reflection. Keep it coming. You guys, boots – make my day.

        • IRT lespark: do you know what ASSUME stands for? I’m not, nor have ever been, an attorney. In fact I don’t particularly care for attorneys (too many of ’em in the legislature). And apparently, your mother never taught you about civil social discourse, as evidenced by your semi-personal written attacks. Have I made your day?

        • Hey Kauai, can you provide us the U.S. Law that all U.S. Presidential candidate must make his/her Federal Tax return available to the — whom ever? We can’t find any such law, but we do believe it’s okay if the Presidential candidate wishes to release some form of IRS Tax information. Mahalo.

        • IRT Klastri, many question her decision of opposition on Rice v. Cayetano, that on Feb 23, 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court in a 7 to 2 vote supported Rice. That decision impacts Hawaii and the operations of OHA ever since. That followed with Arakaki v. Hawaii made OHA candidates and voting for OHA candidate open to all citizens of the State of Hawaii.

        • kuroiwaj – And the fact that “many question her decision” means something? What error of Constitution or law are you alleging?

          You don’t know, of course. But it’s fun to ask.

        • Hey kuroiwaj, re-read my post. I said that Trump would be WITHIN the law to release his tax returns EVEN IF HE IS UNDER AN IRS AUDIT. I did NOT at any time state that he must release his tax returns by or to comply with, the law. READ CAREFULLY!

        • Klastri, Justice Ginsberg based her opposition in Rice v. Cayetano because of the Apology Resolution, which we all know has been discredited by the same U.S. Supreme Court on February 25, 2009 by a unanimous Court.

        • Hey Kauai, what law states that Mr. Trump “can” release his individual tax return, even if under IRS audit as a Presidential candidate? Just the same as, what law states he/she “must” release their individual tax return as a Presidential candidate?

      • He may be as you say ignorant but say hello to the next POTUS, Donald J. Trump. Since Kauai is on board you as usual contradict your sorry self. If there was no law how can she be within the law. You and Klastri are talking through your rear pie hole.
        Back to reality, crooked mama needs money. What do you have in your wallet except used toilet paper? Send her some money so she can run some more kiddie attack ads.
        Trump is a billionaire but I support my candidate with cold hard money because he will make America Great for even you two comedians.

        • IRT lespark: And you continue to make childish personal attacks. Grow up. And America IS great and is destined to become greater, despite your cynicism. Oh, and without any law prohibiting a supreme court justice from commenting on presidential candidates, the 1st Amendment (Freedom of Speech) applies. It may not have been advisable or appropriate for Ginsburg to comment, but she was not prohibited by law from making comments.

        • kauai, although no codified law applies, a SC justice is obligated to comply with canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for federal judges. Whether or not Ginsberg was in violation is another discussion, but on the surface it would seem so.

  • She exposed herself as being too emotional. Emotion is the antithesis of impartiality. Too old. Retire and move on. Lots of money lecturing in the Jamish conventions. Bring in two new blood. Makes for a more exciting political event after a new President is elected. Try for an Asian justice. Got lots of stellar ones in the pipeline.

  • Justice Thomas and his wife spoke against the ACA on a number of occasions at a time when it was abundantly clear that it would be coming before the Supreme Court for adjudication.

    That’s an order of magnitude worse than commenting on the character of a person who hasn’t even been officially nominated as a Presidential candidate. Ginsburg wasn’t commenting on a pending case as Thomas did. Still, I’m happy she apologized because that spikes the guns of her critics.

    No chance she’s gonna resign, and it’d be a travesty if she did. The GOP is already blocking any consideration of Obama’s pick for Scalia’s replacement. Now they want Ginsburg to resign so they can block consideration of any replacement for her? Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

    • While speaking outside of the court on a case is no good, it’s still on an legal issue. Justice Ginsberg clearly stepped out of the line when commenting on a sensitive political issue. And election is always of more sensitivity than any other issues. She should know better. It’s a violation of judicial conduct code as a judge.

        • This is the only thing you said that’s true. All the rest was nonsense. She’s something like lying mama. It was a mistake and I wouldn’t do it again. HRC re. Email server.
          What’s in your wallet? Send your mama some money now. I have to make more attack ads.
          Nothing is working. HRC

      • Klastri is right as much as I hate to admit. There is no conduct code for SC justices. There should be one but then who would try the Highest Court.

        • Hang on, I can’t believe this has gone on so far. There is indeed a code of conduct for federal judges, which includes canon 5, the rule against political involvement. As a SC justice, Ginsberg is obviously considered a federal judge, and as such, her comments seem to be in violation of the code.

        • Nope, I looked it up. Klastri is probably gloating he finally got one right, about a hundred wrong.

        • “http://www.uscourts.gov/judges-judgeships/code-conduct-united-states-judges”. After about 1 minute of google…

        • hawaiikone – Why do we need constitutional scholars if we have you in your basement with Google?

          I’m right.

        • So are you saying there is no code of conduct for SC justices? Please, speak up. We’re waiting…

        • I even provide you with the link to the code and you still deny it exists? Are you a Trump supporter by chance?

  • Ruth Please resign!
    I say this because….. When rendering a decision on cases in the Supreme court ,aren’t the justices supposed to render that decision in an unbiased way? To just interpret the Law. Isn’t that their job?
    We’ve all seen it!
    This lady has a hard enough time just being coherent. How many time have caught her falling asleep during important,functions, announcements, speeches etc? Pulling a Daniel Akaka you say?lol.

    So now that the cats out of the box, we all know how Ruth Ginsburg really feels about the GOP.And her apology? It’s merely decoration! She stepped in it big time! She said what she truly believes in. Maybe next time ?Think before you speak?

    So remember, when Ruth Ginsburg makes a ruling or a decision in the supreme court, we now know that,by her rendering a decision? That decision is indeed biased…. Ruth Please resign.

  • Yes, it was wrong for her to make that public statement but in retrospect she was only saying what most people are thinking regarding Trump.

  • I’m no Trump supporter but I think this is another example of how far downhill our country has gone. This justice had to have known before she opened her mouth that what she was doing was wrong. If she had any ethics she’d resign but I think that’s not going to happen. It would be a major setback if she didn’t recuse herself from a decision on a matter involving Trump.

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