U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doubled down on her denunciations of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Monday, despite mounting criticism for her unprecedented political interventions.
Ginsburg sat with CNN’s Joan Biskupic, a veteran Supreme Court correspondent, late Monday to discuss Biskupic’s forthcoming book on Chief Justice John Roberts. Ginsburg told Biskupic during a short digression that she does not regret publicly expressing her deeply-held opprobrium for the Manhattan businessman.
“He is a faker,” she said. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.”
She also expressed frustration that Trump has not released his tax returns, chiding the press for allowing the issue to evade serious scrutiny.
“How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that,” she said.
Trump claims he is currently under audit and will release his returns at the probe’s conclusion, though it’s unclear if an audit is taking place at all.
Trump pilloried Ginsburg’s heckling in a phone interview with the New York Times Tuesday morning.
“I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,” Trump said. “I think it’s a disgrace to the court and I think she should apologize to the court. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”
“That she should be saying that? It’s so beneath the court for her to be making statements like that,” he added. “It only energizes my base even more. And I would hope that she would get off the court as soon as possible.”
The remarks come just days after Ginsburg envisaged moving to New Zealand should Trump win the presidency.
“I can’t imagine what this place would be, I can’t imagine what the country would be, with Donald Trump as our president,” she told the New York Times in a Sunday article, echoing an earlier comment to the Associated Press. (RELATED: Ginsburg Moving To New Zealand If Trump Wins)
Ginsburg’s startling candor has no precedent in the modern history of the high court — the justices carefully tailor public remarks to remain assiduously apolitical on matters of elections and candidates for public office. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor nearly had to recuse herself from the 2000 election because she was overheard expressing disappointment at an election night party when the state of Florida was called for former Vice President Al Gore.
Though Biskupic says the remarks are vintage Ginsburg, her recent political expressions have been censured from people on both sides of the aisle.
Professor Stephen Gillers of New York University Law School, a legal ethics expert and Ginsburg admirer, wrote it was plainly inappropriate for judges to intercede for or against a political campaign in a Tuesday New York Times piece.
“Much as I admire Justice Ginsburg, her comments about Donald Trump were wrong and harm the courts,” he said, adding that a neutral judiciary is essential for maintaining the rule of law.
Daniel Drezner, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said Ginsburg’s remarks will exacerbate public distrust of the nation’s institutions.
“But if eroding trust was a slow-burning political fire, Ginsburg just poured gasoline on it,” he wrote. “There are certain privileges that one sacrifices to be a sitting member of the federal judiciary and making explicitly partisan comments about presidential elections is one of those privileges.”
Harvard Law professor Adrian Vermeule was less measured.
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