WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump called Wednesday for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign for saying publicly that she feels he is unfit to be president. Lashing out, Trump said the 83-year-old justice’s “mind is shot.”
“Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee wrote in an early morning tweet on @realDonaldTrump. “Her mind is shot — resign!”
Ginsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press last week that she didn’t want to think about the possibility that Trump would be president and predicted that Democrat Hillary Clinton will win and have a few appointments to make to the Supreme Court.
It is highly unusual for a sitting justice to weigh in so publicly on a political campaign, though Ginsburg is known for speaking her mind on other issues and is celebrated as a liberal icon known to fans as Notorious RBG.
In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, she joked about moving to New Zealand if Trump is elected. She escalated her criticism on Tuesday, telling CNN that Trump is a “faker” and questioning how he has “gotten away with not turning over his tax returns.”
“He has no consistency about him,” she said.
A Supreme Court spokeswoman did not immediately respond Wednesday to a reporter’s request for comment on Trump’s criticism.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that it was “totally inappropriate” for Ginsburg to criticize Trump. He said members of the Supreme Court shouldn’t weigh in on American elections.
“It raises a level of skepticism that the American people have from time to time about just how objective the Supreme Court is, whether they’re over there to call the balls and strikes, or weigh in on one side or another,” he said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN Tuesday that Ginsburg’s comments “shows bias to me.”
Former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who on Tuesday endorsed Clinton, said Wednesday he agrees with Ginsburg’s remarks.
The Vermont senator declined to say whether it is appropriate for a sitting Supreme Court justice to openly criticize a White House contender. But he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he agrees Trump is a “total opportunist” and said “the record clear is quite clear that he lies just a whole lot of the time.”
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and is the senior member of the court’s liberal wing of justices.
One of the high court’s most conservative justices, Antonin Scalia, died in February and the vacancy has yet to be filled.
© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Earlier story is below:
Chicago Tribune – Presidential candidates invariably seek and often get endorsements from admired figures in American life. But Hillary Clinton apparently didn’t have to ask to get one of the most noteworthy signals of approval any politician could ask for — a criticism of her likely Republican opponent from a sitting justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an interview with The New York Times, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what this country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.” She recalled something her late husband used to say: “Maybe it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”
The issue here isn’t Trump’s fitness for the presidency — we’re beyond dubious — nor is it Ginsburg’s freedom to think whatever she wishes of him.
But to say her public comments are unusual is like saying dancing cows are scarce. Supreme Court justices don’t — at least until now — take public stands on presidential or other elections. One reason is that they are barred from doing so by the federal code of judicial conduct, which states that as a general rule, judges shall not “publicly endorse or publicly oppose another candidate for public office.” They also aren’t allowed to make speeches on behalf of political organizations or give money to candidates.
The reasons for the ban are clear and sensible. Judges who sit on the federal bench are protected from political pressures by the life tenure provided in the Constitution. Courts are often asked to rule on matters of public controversy, and the litigants on either side are entitled to expect that the presiding judges will evaluate their arguments fairly.
Nowhere is that impartiality more important than in the highest court in the land, which has the final word on a host of grave questions. For justices to descend into partisan election campaigns would undermine public faith in their willingness to assess each case strictly on its legal merits. It would also encourage justices to let their political biases affect, if not determine, their decisions.
Yet here was Ginsburg plainly indicating how she will vote in this election. “I am not aware of any justice ever expressing views on the merits or demerits of a presidential candidate in the midst of the campaign,” Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told The Washington Post. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told us her comment “showed manifestly bad judgment and undermined the integrity of the Court.”
She is not the first justice to play fast and loose with these obligations. The late Antonin Scalia flew on Dick Cheney’s plane in 2004, when they took a hunting trip together, yet didn’t recuse himself from a suit against the vice president. At an election-watching party in 2000, when it appeared Al Gore had won, Sandra Day O’Connor reportedly said, “This is terrible” — before participating in the decision in Bush v. Gore.
But Ginsburg went even further by publicly stating her opinion of a candidate during a campaign. If Trump is elected, Ginsburg may be expected to rule on the constitutionality or legality of the policies he pursues. Can anyone assume that she’ll put aside her disdain for him and give them a fair hearing? If President Trump were to lose a case, wouldn’t he have plausible grounds to claim, as he often does, “The system is rigged”?
The Supreme Court commands respect and deference from the citizenry partly because it stands outside of petty politics. When a member of the court strides into that muck, she may help a candidate, but she hurts the cause of justice.
(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune
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