I have long been a critic of Supreme Court justices embracing the era of what I have called “the celebrity justice.” Justices are increasingly appearing before highly ideological groups and inappropriately discussing thinly veiled political subjects or even pending issues. She previously called President Trump as “faker.” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a notable recidivist in this type of conduct and does not appear to be deterred by criticism that she is undermining the integrity of the Court. She is back at it with a new interview with the BBC.
Ginsburg, who has been openly critical of President Trump, says the US is “not experiencing the best of times” but assured viewed that the “pendulum” will swing back. She also weighed in on the fight between the media and Trump: “I read the Washington Post and the New York Times every day, and I think that the reporters are trying to tell the public the way things are.”
I happen to agree that the attacks on the media are unwarranted and unwise, though not as unprecedented as some have suggested. I am far more concerned over Ginsburg’s seeming inability to revisit the public spotlight and injudicious statements as I am a politician like Trump attacked the media. Ginsburg seems drawn to the adoring crowds or coverage that comes from being the most recognized liberal justice on the Court. It is a highly inappropriate role to play as she appears to maintain her “base” of supporters.
Ginsburg again criticized Congress, saying “Our legislature – which is the first branch of government – is right now not working.” She also cheered the recent Women’s March, which had a distinctly anti-Trump message: “I’ve never seen such a demonstration – both the numbers and the rapport of the people in that crowd. There was no violence, it was orderly. So yes, we are not experiencing the best times but there is there is reason to hope that that we will see a better day.” That seems pretty political in my view.
I was equally critical of Justice Antonin Scalia for his similar proclivities. This is also a sad statement about Chief Justice John Roberts. Just as I criticized Roberts for failing to take Associate Justice Samuel Alito to task for his highly inappropriate conduct in a prior State of the Union, I believe that it is Roberts’ role to take a stand against these public appearances of justices where they hold forth on contemporary controversies or criticize Congress or a president.
While liberals denounce other justices as being ideological on the right, they seem to relish the role of Ginsburg is being openly partisan in some of her comments. What is particularly sad is that Ginsburg has had a distinguished tenure on the bench with profound opinions that will stand the test of time. Yet, she is undermining her own legacy with these public appearances and commentary.