“A Judge Would Be Disqualified”: Justice Ginsburg Again Wades Into Political Controversies In Interview

I have previously criticized Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her continued political comments in speeches to liberal and academic groups.  While not unique on the Court, Ginsburg has repeatedly crossed the line of traditional public speaking in discussing political controversies, pending issues before the Court, and even criticizing the President. Despite repeated controversies in speaking publicly on political issues, Ginsburg remains undeterred.  Earlier this year, Ginsburg again repeated her view that sexist voters prevented Hillary Clinton from being elected president — a repeat of controversial comments in her 2017 speech. This week, Ginsburg commented on the merits of President Donald Trump’s call for a review of the Supreme Court and even criticized senators who have made public statements about the impeachment.

Indeed, the most ironic part of her commentary was Ginsburg noting how inappropriate it is for senators to be discussing their views of the merits before any actual impeachment. She insisted “if a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified from sitting on the case.” That raises a rather uncomfortable question as to what Ginsburg was doing in that very interview.

In discussing these issues with the BBC’s Razia Iqbal, Ginsburg commented on Trump’s desire for a review of the basis for impeachment. She dismissed the idea and noted “The president is not a lawyer, he’s not law trained.” The Court just took a case with potential bearing on the impeachment and particularly the article of obstruction of Congress. For Ginsburg to make any comments on the issue is wildly inappropriate.

She then added criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators who have discussed their views of the merits: “Well if a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified from sitting on the case.”

Some of us have raised concerns over such comments, but we are not members of the Supreme Court. 

However, Ginsburg was not done. She turned to abortion and declared “I think society needs to be more active on this issue. And the truth is that with all these restrictive laws, the only people who are being restricted are poor women. They normally can’t pay a plane fare or the bus fare, they can’t afford to take days off of work to go.”

That is not just direct commentary on political and legal issues but a direction to what people should do on a political issue. It is facially inappropriate and the media would not be so silent if another justice like Samual Alito was advising pro-life forces on what they needed to do. Ginsburg was also discussing disparate impact issues on abortion services — an issue that has come before the Court and is likely to be before the Court again.

It was an ironic moment for the justice who is credited with the “Ginsburg Rule” where she refused to answer questions during confirmation that might be raised in cases before her.  I have been critical of that rule. However, after being confirmed, Ginsburg regularly discussed the issues that she declined to discuss in the confirmation.

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. I have been equally critical of other justices, including the late Antonin Scalia, for such comments. She previously called President Trump a “faker.”  Ginsburg remains a notable recidivist in this type of conduct.

It would not seem much to ask for justices to avoid commenting on politics while on the Court. These justices are allowed to sit on a court of nine. The price of that ticket should be utter neutrality in politics. Instead, Ginsburg appears to relish her public persona.

While Ginsburg previously apologized for her past political commentary as “ill-advised,” it is equally ill-informed.  Yet, after the election, Clinton alternatively blamed sexismracismself-hating womendomineering boyfriendsRussian hackersBernie Sanders, and of course, James Comey.

In the end, it does not matter if Ginsburg is right or wrong.  Her continuing discussion of political issues out of the Court undermines both the Court and her legacy.

53 thoughts on ““A Judge Would Be Disqualified”: Justice Ginsburg Again Wades Into Political Controversies In Interview”

  1. Singling out liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for criticism because of “her continued political comments” is like calling the kettle black. Justice Scalia often appeared before conservative groups to promote his conservative political views as has Clarence Thomas. On Tuesday conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared on Fox & Friends to promote his book “A Republic if you can keep it” and seemed to endorse the dubious Fox News claim that there is a “War on Christmas”. This a popular right-wing talking point that echoes the views of Henry Ford who wrote a series of articles back in the 1920s (“The International Jew”) promoting the anti-Semitic trope that there was a “War on Christmas” by Jews to promote their own agenda. Do you think it appropriate for Justice Gorsuch to appear on a right-wing news channel that promotes the cultural and political power of right-wing Christians over all other groups–especially at a time when the Supreme Court has agreed to hear more cases involving the separation of church and state?

  2. The term ‘sexist’ doesn’t refer to an actual social or intellectual phenomenon. It’s a piece of rhetorical gamesmanship. No one honest or meticulous uses it.

  3. What scares the hell out of me about this “jurist,” is her insane opinion that women voters can’t be trusted to use good judgment in selecting a president. She appears to honestly believe women are incapable of rational thought! I mean; with “feminists” like RBG, who needs enemies?!

  4. She should have stepped down under the Obama Admin. Merrick Garland or some other liberal should have been a replacement, for the sake of balance.

    Criticize if you want, doesn’t bother me.

    But there does need to be some level of balance between the political parties. It will never be perfect, nor ideal for either side, but ya know, balance is good, disagreement with respect is good too. Everyone walks away a little annoyed, however, content.

    1. I think most would agree the judicial branch needs to be left alone, e.g., not politicized, and in turn, free to rule over “cases and controversies” in a non-binary way, with the understanding that leanings will be inherent, yet not a (no…the) determinative factor.

    2. Merrick Garland is not a liberal. He was offered up as a compromise – someone McConnell had previously suggested as an acceptable Supreme Court nominee earlier in Obama’s administration. However, by the time he was nominated, McConnell was no longer interested in a compromise candidate when he could obstruct the process and possibly steal a nominee by stonewalling until after the election. Garland tends to write narrowly constructed decisions and has a knack for finding common areas of agreement between opposing views. Thst would probably have helped the court and the country more than reinforcing the strong ideological divisions that are currently on the court. The liberal term was applied to Garland by some portions of media and activist groups as a smear. It doesn’t accurately describe his record.

  5. I suspect neurologists and those caring for geriatric patients would say it was RBG’s progressive loss of inhibition self-controls. She may still have intellect and wit far above average but with an increasing inability to consistently apply herself to matters that she should be focused on. … A somewhat parallel public figure might be Warren Buffet – it wasn’t until after he established a succession plan that he embraced a public role; thus I would argue he was responsible. RBG is not being responsible; her law clerks are no doubt carrying her. She should have followed J. John Paul Steven’s example: retire and bloviate. Instead she has the arrogance of Sumner Redstone. … Judges as well as members of Congress should be required to disclose all prescription drugs related to neurological, personality and sleeping disorders.

  6. From the perspective of a layperson, we want a judge to be impartial, unbiased, and fair. When a judge brings their personal opinions and politics to the bench, then they are none of that. It is a form of legislating from the bench.

    We need to rely on judges to apply the laws as they are written, not as they wish they were written. That is for the elected legislative branch.

    A high degree of intelligence does not make someone right on all things. After all, Scalia was intelligent, as well, and yet he and Ginsberg differed in their legal opinions.

    Here is a case in point. Ginsberg blames sexism for Hillary’s loss. That implies the candidate had not flaws that a reasonable person would vote against, therefore they must have been biased against her gender. That is obviously not true, as it negates women who voted for Trump, Hillary’s general unpopularity, as well as the myriad scandals attached to her. For example, she had an illegal server in her bathroom, circumventing the Records Act and the State system, deleted tens of thousands of emails while under subpoena, wiped her server, and then smashed her laptops and phones with a hammer. Ruth Bader Ginsberg looked at that information, and determined it must be sexist to vote against Hillary Clinton.

    Her determination was factually incorrect.

    I question her judgement. ironic, since she sits on SCOTUS.

    1. Ivan – they should force her to stay up for the election finals. Trump should have her swear him in for 2021

  7. The singular American failure since Abraham Lincoln has been and continues to be the judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court. The judicial branch considers itself to be a second and co-equal legislative branch. The treasonous members of the judicial branch should have been impeached and convicted long ago for challenging and nullifying the authority of the Constitution. None of the American welfare state is constitutional and all members of the judicial branch know it. Read the literal words of the English language in Article 1, Section 8. Congress cannot tax for any form of redistribution or regulate anything other than the “flow” of commerce between jurisdictions to prevent bias. Members of the judicial branch are recruited straight out of the Communist Manifesto.

    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

      1. Mespo,

        Marry Christmas for your family, others here, Prof Turley & surrounding family/friends & At El:

        About a year ago or so back you posted many posts about how you saw the US Civil War.

        I was sorry at the time I didn’t at that time able to read it.

        And please, I wish I had the time if you remember to read it, but I don’t at this time now.

        I just wanted to say thank you & certain people. As in many important battles in the past, in the US civil war many leaders fighting for their cause had multiple horses shoot out from under them.

        I think I’m now back upon my 4th Mighty Steed,… Knock on Wood!


        The greedy fools can plot as they wish!

  8. Chuck is speaking to Turley like that character in “Brokeback Mountain” – “I just can’t quit you”.

    1. By the time I get to Phoenix, she’ll be rising
      She’ll find the note I left hangin’ on her door
      She’ll laugh when she reads the part that says I’m leavin’
      ‘Cause I’ve left that girl so many times before

      1. Oh Good Lord I didn’t watch that. Some lesbian friend told me the quote.
        I did, however, recently see “Knives Out” – highly recommend. Great cast, great screenplay.

  9. Ever the Trump apologist and supporter, Turley once again shows his “Ever Trump” colors. Notice he never posts the same complaints against Graham or McConnell?

    1. Notice he never posts the same complaints against Graham or McConnell?

      Whining is not an argument Chuck. You have the opportunity to present an opposing viewpoint to Turley’s posts. The fact you don’t or won’t says much about the soundness of Turley’s opinions.

        1. He’s doing his best Steve Martin impersonation from The Jerk.

          Well I’m gonna go then. And I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything except this. And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.

    2. never noticed that because it’s not true and of course you failed to post specifics in the usual Collective programmed speech of the fascist liberal left. Just like your socialist liberal fascist incompetent needs to be impeached Judge.

      But thanks for the Seig Heil attempt that so easily identifies your kind. Does that plain spoken comment do any good to a machinei part of The Collective? Ad Machina for their is no evidence of human presence.

  10. Well said. It continues to astound me how reporters, judges, politicians, etc. believe that “We the people” are completely ignorant. My comment on this entire statement regarding President Trumps tweet concerning the supreme court is “Read the tweet” It was a question, not a statement. The reporter that wrote the article misrepresented the tweet, as did Justice Ginsberg (if in “fact” she was quoted accurately).

    1. No one washes a rental car, and no one pays attention to “anonymous” posts. Talk about “[C]ompletely ignorant.”

      1. Chuck:

        “No one washes a rental car, and no one pays attention to “anonymous” posts. Talk about “[C]ompletely ignorant.”

        Actually someone always washes a rental car (mine is always clean); lots of people pay attention to anonymous posts; and “completely ignorant” about summarizes folks who think otherwise.

          1. mespo – I only wash rental cars when they have been used in the commission of a crime.

      2. Good job of categorizing yourself it’s one of the things the socialist progerammers do rather well to their machine parts. Ad Machina.

  11. This impeachment is all about Ginsburgs seat on the court, if Trump wins a second term Ginsburg has to last another four years or more or the conservatives takeover the court big time

    1. Bruce:

      That’s part of it. A conservative court will push progressivism back for a generation. The other part is their corruption will be exposed. You only hate when its in your interests to do so — usually economic but sexual jealousy and loathing have a say, too. My old crim. law professor called motivations for hate/murder were “love, lust, loathing and loot.” Brilliant.

    2. Odds are she’ll pair with Clinton and do a duo DOA scene having forgot how to use the nitroquik spray.

  12. I think Ginsburg is at the age and health were she just doesn’t care anymore. She is either going to die soon or someone is going to tell her she is dead.

  13. It seems she and her admirers are swept up in a positive feedback loop. Liberals want her to never retire so they heap praise and love unto her in the hopes of her choosing to remain on the bench yet another year longer. She in turn feeds off the adoration and rewards her supporters with speeches and sympathetic comments as to how the world should be.

    Neither side does it out of altruism.

    1. “[N]either side?” Pack your bags, Mr. Smith, to Washington you will not be going.”

  14. “Indeed, the most ironic part of her commentary was Ginsburg noting how inappropriate it is for senators to be discussing their views of the merits before any actual impeachment. She insisted “if a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified from sitting on the case.” That raises a rather uncomfortable question as to what Ginsburg was doing in that very interview.“
    Irony is lost on Granny. Indeed, most things are lost on this octogenarian. Too old, too liberal and too feeble to be deciding issues of national policy.

    1. RBG does it out of senility coupled with socialist liberalism. Pelosi does the same out of intent to commit crimes against The Constitution and the Oath of Office. RBG shows the founders original system is working as compared to the system in place. Pelosi is clearly working to reinstate that system or a worse version with herself as King George. Of the two the wanna be King Georgette Lenin.

      Whose the worst using the Enemy of the Citizens yardstick? The one who describes herself then lies about who is the guilty party. Truly she is the Queen machine part of the corporatist statist socialist liberal extreme left. Without question. Thank whomever she didn’t decide to run for Justice of the Supreme Court we would have had a black robed Schutz Staffel far worse than the Soristas bought and paid for ACLueless rogue judges who think they are God and can dictate to an entire nation.

      Obama refused to declare martial law knowing he would be the first one handcuffed. Pelosi makes Obama look like a cheap suit imitation. . .

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