Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was way out of line in her scathing criticism of Donald Trump. Three times in the last week, she let it be known she can’t imagine this country under a president Trump, She called him “a faker,” said he “has no consistency about him,” and added that he says whatever comes into his mind. Which was exactly what she was doing.
It doesn’t matter than she wasn’t wrong on content. But she was dead wrong speaking publicly that way. As she acknowledged this morning, it is wholly inappropriate for a Supreme Court Justice to weigh in on politics or a political candidate. Other justices have occasionally let their political views be known, but never this egregiously. She was right to apologize, but it’s a little like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Will she have to recuse herself if the outcome of the Clinton v. Trump election went the route of Bush v. Gore? Would she have to recuse herself if Tom Brady appeals to the Supreme Court for a stay in his four-game suspension because she’s the single justice now handling appeals from the Second Circuit? And if she did recuse herself, would she also have to recuse herself from other deliberations on his case? After all, he has made clear that Donald Trump is a good friend of his?
Ginsburg deserves credit for owning up to the error. Supreme Court Justices rarely, if ever, apologize for anything. Still, her regrettable remarks reinforce the sense that campaign 2016 is a race to the bottom and that the disease of name calling has infected the body politic far and wide.
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