The Notorious SAA: Democrats Denounce Alito After Years Of Praising Ginsburg For Controversial Comments

This week I criticized Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito for a speech that he gave to the Federalist Society. That should come as no surprise since I have spent two decades criticizing justices for such controversial public addresses.  However, I was struck in the last couple days by the politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and liberal faculty members who are falling over themselves in utter disgust with such public commentary from a sitting justice. For years, I criticized the far more egregious comments from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg without a peep of protest from people like Warren. Instead, Ginsburg became the “Notorious RBG.” There is, however, no place for a Notorious SAA in the media or academia.

I admittedly hold a more traditional and cloistered view of public role of justices. I have been particularly critical of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who clearly relished appearances before ideologically supportive groups. We have seen in the last couple decades more and more public speaking by justices in both books and speeches on contemporary issues. I have called this trend the “rise of the celebrity justice.”

As I previously noted, Justice Alito addressed attacks on religious liberty and free speech, including citing past cases and disputes before the Court.  He also declared “The Covid crisis has highlighted constitutional fault lines” in attacking such rights. Alito also launched into liberals who he views as threatening religious rights, noting that “[i]n certain corners, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” Alito attacked the Obama administration’s “ protracted campaign” and “unrelenting attack” against the Little Sisters of the Poor.” He also criticized a Washington State for requiring pharmacies to provide emergency contraception. He maintained that such emergency contraception “destroys an embryo after fertilization.” All of those issues have been and will again be before the Court. Indeed, as Alito was making these ill-considered comments, the Catholic Church was coming before his Court in these very issues.

So there is reason to be critical of Alito. However, the voices are coming from people who once cheered on such comments from Ginsburg.  Now however there was nothing but utter disgust. This was not “Notorious” but nauseating.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., declared “These are stunning, harmful words from Justice Alito.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was beside herself in shock and disgust: “Supreme Court Justices aren’t supposed to be political hacks. his right-wing speech is nakedly partisan.” 

Others repeated calls for packing the Court or taking other partisan moves in light of Alito’s remarks. Aaron Belkin, director of Take Back the Court declared “Justice Alito’s wildly inappropriate speech is a reminder that Republicans have packed the Supreme Court with extremist politicians in robes — and they’re planning a partisan revenge tour.”

Yet, Alito’s comments look positively tame in comparison to what Ginsburg regularly declared in speeches, which thrilled the media, members of Congress, and academia.  While I praised Ginsburg as a jurist, she undermined the Court in these public speeches. Ginsburg had a base of supporters and she maintained that base with speeches that were openly partisan and she often discussed issues before or likely to come before the Court. It was always a glaring conflict for the jurist who is referenced in the “Ginsburg Rule.” The rule is often cited by nominees in refusing to discuss issues or cases in confirmation hearings that might come before the Court. It is a rule that is based on principles of judicial ethics for all jurists. It is not just confined to confirmations. It applies to any justices and judges in discussing such issues at any time outside of courts. Yet, after refusing to answer even generalized questions in these hearings, justices proceed to speak publicly on the very same questions once they are confirmed. Indeed, some justices seem to maintain a fan base or constituency on the right or the left in these speeches — a serious challenge to tradition of neutrality expected of our justices.

Despite repeated controversies in speaking publicly on political issues, Ginsburg is undeterred. The same year that she passed, Ginsburg continued such speeches in discussing issues like the ERA to the joy of liberals. Shortly before that, Ginsburg again repeated her view that sexist voters prevented Hillary Clinton from being elected president — a repeat of controversial comments in her 2017 speech. Again, the comments thrilled liberals.

As in her 2017 speech, Ginsburg again repeated her view that sexist voters prevented Hillary Clinton from being elected president. Speaking at a Columbia University Women’s Conference event, Ginsburg said

“I think it was difficult for Hillary Clinton to get by even the macho atmosphere prevailing during that campaign, and she was criticized in a way I think no man would have been criticized. I think anyone who watched that campaign unfold would answer it the same way I did: Yes, sexism played a prominent part.”

Ginsburg even attacked members of Congress for speaking inappropriately publicly. In one interview, Ginsburg blasted senators for 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.” 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.”

Justice Ginsburg started another firestorm over public comments on how she would move to New Zealand if Donald Trump is elected. Ginsburg apologized for that public controversy, though I discussed in a column how the incident spoke to a much larger problem on the Court. While she express “regret” in that instance, it did not deter Ginsburg in continuing to speak publicly and hold forth on contemporary issues, though she did make a curious distinction on this occasion.

Sen. Warren never objected. Not once.  Holding forth on defeating Donald Trump, threats against abortion rights, or political issues from a liberal perspective were all wonderfully “notorious.”  Alito making comments on the trend against religious rights was naked partisan.
Alito may need a workout tape to reach the notorious stage but I would not count on it.

124 thoughts on “The Notorious SAA: Democrats Denounce Alito After Years Of Praising Ginsburg For Controversial Comments”

  1. Turley needs to decide what he is… If he is going to be an activist, then all means necessary is the mantra.

    If he is going to be an impartial judge, then be it.

    Turley is the one being inconsistent.

    And, anyway, Turley, we are way, way beyond impartiality. And we didn’t start it.

  2. The notorious BAG, a terrible Justice social warrior who, along with other liberals, up ended the Constitution and legislated from the Bench. The Democrats know what can be done from the Bench can be undone by Justices who follow. It will take a lot of work to fix the wrong decisions over the last 110 years. But it is worth fighting for.

    1. You have to be a troll, only such would not know that Judges, ALL Judges are supposed to be IMPARTIAL??
      That speaking to any group with an agenda or an Ax to grind is blatantly partisan, and it should be ILLEGAL for them?
      Troll elsewhere, please.

  3. I don’t wish to condemn either Justice Alito or Justice Ginsburg for speaking out of turn, but it might be fair for me to say that Professor Turley’s criticism seems more level-headed than Senator Warren’s attack. Turley did not call Justice Alito a political hack, and he did not threaten to apply speech restriction as the remedy. Senator Warren adds equity to the Senate, and it is certainly possible I misunderstood her tweet.

    Those in the constitutional cannabis, alcohol and tobacco consumption communities, as I think applies to the state of Massachusetts and to former President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party more generally, should be very interested in seeing eye-to-eye on religious liberty with Justice Samuel Alito.

  4. ALITO WOULD BRING BACK COMSTOCK LAWS

    From The Column:

    Alito attacked the Obama administration’s protracted campaign” and “unrelenting attack” against the Little Sisters of the Poor.” He also criticized a Washington State for requiring pharmacies to provide emergency contraception. He maintained that such emergency contraception “destroys an embryo after fertilization.”
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    The Comstock Laws were a set of Federal acts passed by Congress in the 1870’s. Said laws classified literature on Birth Control as ‘obscene’ and subject to strict criminal penalties. Judging from Alitio’s remarks, it appears that he would be quite open to criminalizing all forms of birth control. No wonder mainstream media reacted to Alito as though he is a caveman. Only a caveman would have us re-litigate the right to birth control.

    Conservatives must understand that ‘Religious Liberty’ translates to ‘Religious Tyranny’ to a great many Americans. There are reasons church attendance has fallen off dramatically in the past 50 years. So-called ‘Christian Conservatives’ have been largely responsible for giving churches a bad name.

  5. Steve Vladeck (UT Austin law prof.):
    “In a 31-page ruling, Judge Garaufis (EDNY) has granted summary judgment against the Trump administration’s post-#SCOTUS effort to suspend #DACA — holding that @DHS_Wolf was *not* lawfully appointed, and so lacked the authority to issue his July 28 memo: …
    “As for DOJ’s Friday letter to the court about how it communicated an “inadvertent factual inaccuracy” about the timing of the belated effort to ratify the #DACA suspension (https://twitter.com/steve_vladeck/status/1327628180778311680?s=20), let’s just say that Judge Garaufis was … not amused. …
    “Keep in mind that *this* is the only reason why, all of a sudden, the Trump administration is in a hurry to have the Senate confirm a DHS Secretary (after leaving the position open for a record 584 days — and counting): …”
    “There may be no better epitaph for how the Trump administration has twisted itself into a series of pretzels to abuse the vacancies rules than Judge Garaufis’s kicker in footnote 11: ‘The court wishes the Government well in trying to find its way out of this self-made thicket.'”

    https://twitter.com/steve_vladeck/status/1327731965848641542 (decision attached to the tweet)

    1. DACA is absolutely unconstitutional.

      Obama will never be eligible for the presidency.

      Obama will never be a “natural born citizen.”

  6. Liberals by and large are evil people who must be dealt with by any means necessary to restore decency and freedom.

  7. In the rules for the Socialists the head of the list is”anything said or done to promote the party IS the truth.” The comment was a California Democrat which means Socialist which means Marxist Leninist, or Benito Adolfist which means Regressive Liberal and all subscribe to that same party rule. Facts? Courtesy? What for. Nothing in the Manifesto about that.

    The sick thing is the same one along with Poke A Haunt Us a well known professional liar and Comrade Sanders who lied each time he signed the oath of office will be in charge of our money and hahahahhah ethics.

  8. The Left hates alternative opinions. Theirs must be the only one

    https://therightscoop.com/antifa-invades-million-maga-march-carrying-punch-a-maga-in-the-face-banner-while-hiding-behind-cops/

    “Antifa invades Million MAGA March carrying ‘Punch a MAGA in the Face’ banner while HIDING behind COPS”

    The Million MAGA March/Stop the Steal rally in D.C. is well underway and there are THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of people there, chanting, carrying signs, peacefully marching, and expressing their voices under the First Amendment.

    There’s nothing ANTIFA hates more than freedom, so naturally they showed up to try to stop it. But they probably weren’t expecting to be so completely ineffective and look so completely stupid.

    They have a tough talk banner saying “punch a MAGA in the face” while they hide behind the police, who they want to defund. So it’s basically the perfect leftwing protest.

  9. If it weren’t for hypocrisy the dems would have no values at all. Nothing new to see here. It was totally expected from the left. It’s just how they roll.

    1. Alma, we didn’t form a cult around a transparent lying con man. you did. You didn’t even have a platform this election because you no longer have any principles. just devotion to a guy who obviously cares about no one but himself. What are you teaching your kids?

      1. Civil War raging out of control due to BLM Nazi cultists killing, burning, destroying…you know the drill since you are them

        https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/11/14/violence-gunfire-rage-as-officers-abandon-minneapolis-police-department/

        Violence, Gunfire Rage as Officers Abandon Minneapolis Police Department

        Violence and gunfire are raging in Minneapolis as officers leave the department at such a rate that residents are warned that 911 responses may soon cease.

        The Washington Post reports:

        Nearly six months after George Floyd’s death here sparked massive protests and left a wide swath of the city burned and destroyed, Minneapolis is grappling with dueling crises: an unprecedented wave of violence and droves of officer departures that the Minneapolis Police Department warns could soon leave the force unable to respond to emergencies.

        The report notes that North Minneapolis is marked by gunfire, as “bullets zip through this predominantly Black neighborhood, hitting cars and homes and people.”

        Minneapolis homicides have surged 50 percent this year, with almost 75 people killed.

        Community activist Cathy Spann observed, “If you want to talk about pandemics, we’re dealing with a pandemic of violence. We’re under siege. You wake up and go to bed in fear, because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. … And our city has failed to protect us.”

        On June 12, 2020, Breitbart News reported that the Minneapolis City Council responded to the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd by unanimously vowing to disband the police department. Months after making that pledge, the same council that approved abolishing the police stood in the rubble and asked where the police had gone.

        On September 16, 2020, Breitbart News noted a Minnesota Public Radio report that quoted City Council President Lisa Bender suggesting police were intentionally not arresting people. She claimed, “This is not new, but it is very concerning in the current context.”

        Ironically, Bender supported the June 2020 pledge to disband the police department, promising to “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”

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