Dozens Of House Republicans Urge Ginsburg To Recuse From Travel Ban Cases

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Fifty-eight House Republicans signed a letter to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg demanding her recusal from the forthcoming travel ban case, given her previous public criticisms of President Donald Trump.

The letter argues that Ginsburg is bound by law to recuse herself in cases where she has a “personal bias or prejudice concerning a party” or from cases where her “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The congressmen argue that the justice publicly evinced prejudice towards the president in a series of interviews given at the conclusion of the 2016 term, in which she called the president a “faker” and mused about moving to New Zealand if he prevailed in the general election.

“You are bound by law to recuse yourself from participation in this case,” the congressmen write. “There is no doubt that your impartiality can be reasonably questioned; indeed, it would be unreasonable not to question your impartiality. Your participation in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project would violate the law and undermine the credibility of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

What’s more, the congressmen argued that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals placed the president’s credibility directly at issue in this case, as it concluded that the administration was not being forthright about its true motives with regard to the order. Relying on the president’s tweets and campaign statements, the court concluded that the travel ban’s national security rationale was little more that a pretext for implementing a discriminatory policy.

As Ginsburg has already publicly impugned Trump’s credibility, they say she must recuse herself.


The justice offered candid assessments of the president in a series of interviews beginning in a July 2016 interview with Adam Liptak of The New York Times.

“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 said.

She went on to double down on her remarks.

“He is a faker,” she told CNN’s Joan Biskupic. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment.”

Her criticisms, unprecedented in the modern period, prompted The New York Times and The Washington Post to chastise her political interventions. She walked back the remarks in short order.

“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised, and I regret making them,” Ginsburg said. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future, I will be more circumspect.”

Fix the Court, a watchdog group that advocates for greater transparency at the high court, urged Ginsburg to publicly offer “convincing reasons” for her continued participation in the case.

“Justice Ginsburg should take this opportunity and explain to the American people her views on why she should stay on the case,” said the group’s executive director, Gabe Roth. “It is possible there are convincing reasons for Justice Ginsburg to hear the travel ban lawsuit despite her clear disdain for the petitioner. It is her responsibility now to air those reasons.” Roth also noted Justice Antonin Scalia resisted calls to recuse himself from cases involving Vice President Dick Cheney during the Bush administration. Cheney and Scalia were hunting companions and socialized on occasion.

The Supreme Court Public Information Office has not yet returned TheDCNF’s inquiries.

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