July 12, 2016

"Normally Supreme Court justices should refrain from commenting on partisan politics. But these are not normal times."

Writes Paul Butler, one of 3 lawprofs addressing the questions "Can a Supreme Court Justice Denounce a Candidate? Is it ever appropriate or ethical for a justice to announce his or her preference in a presidential election?" — asked by the NYT on the occasion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's indicating she's horrified at the idea of a Trump presidency.

I addressed the question myself last night, here, and my answer is closest to what Erwin Chemerinsky writes in the NYT. The third essay, by Stephen Gillers, rests heavily on the Code of Judicial Conduct, which doesn't apply to the Supreme Court, but, in Gillers's view, should. He cites the provision that judges should not "make speeches for a political candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office" or "engage in any other political activity." I wouldn't interpret those provisions too broadly. Judging would collapse if we took "any other political activity" too seriously, since deciding cases is political, depending on what you mean by political. All Ginsburg did was answer a question in an interview. She didn't stage or appear at a political event. And her answer was a modest display of feeling: "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president... For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that." It's almost a refusal to respond, an oh, my.

But back to Professor Butler with his "normalness" template. I'm watching that. Click my "normal" tag to follow my interest in the idea of normal. These are not normal times, so suspend the normal rules. Who's being not normal? A. The person adjudged non-normal, thus unleashing others from the obligation to be normal or B. the person claiming things are now already non-normal and thus non-normal measures can be used?

And by the way, who's more like Hitler? A or B? I don't like bringing up Hitler, but those other people started it.

165 comments:

Hagar said...

I thought the choice was between P.T. Barnum and Ma Barker.

Colin Durham said...

RBG has been and remains first and foremost a reliable tool for the Left rather than a dispassionate jurist...when the facade comes off, the Left scrambles to prop her back up

rehajm said...

Which country has Paul Butler chosen to flee to?

SGT Ted said...

"Remember: Every 4 years the GOP nominee is literally Hitler. A few years later — sometimes, as in Mitt Romney’s case, as few as 4 years after he was accused of giving a woman cancer — that formerly-Hitler nominee becomes the standard of once-great GOP nominees to which the current nominee fall short." -Glen Reynolds

Michael McClain said...

I doubt that she'll recuse herself from any cases involving a Trump Administration.

David Begley said...

Althouse:

You are really splitting hairs here.

Do this easy mind experiment. If dearly departed Scalia was still with us and condemned Hillary in the same terms, what would the NYT say? And the FBI director has never had to discuss a lengthy criminal investigation regarding Trump.

pm317 said...

My laywoman understanding is that the Justices should be above politics, and above what political parties signify even though others attribute their pattern of decisions rendered as being pro-liberal or pro-conservative. Should they not at least leave it to others to label them and not be so open to share and confirm their own proclivities?

Unknown said...

I hope everyone agrees that judges are political animals and indeed it is helpful to stop pretending that judges are NOT political animals. nevertheless, it is discourteous and unprofessional (if not unethical (and I am not talking about an actual code, but rather ethics in the unofficial sense)) for a sitting justice to take a side in a presidential election--which she did! I think she demonstrates a clear bias or animus against Donald trump personally which does raise a recusal spectre in my view.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I don't have any problem with RGB stating her opinion of Trump. I'd much rather have it out in the open than kept hidden.
While Supreme Court Justices cannot be force to recuse themselves, if a Trump election related case makes its way to the Supreme Court, she has an obligation to recuse herself. If she does not, she should be impeached. I don't think that extends to any case involving a President Trump, but it probably should extend to a case about his signature issues, such as a border wall or halting immigration of Muslims.

boycat said...

But these are not normal times

Inasmuch as that can and is said every four years when it comes to presidential elections, that amounts to saying nothing.

shiloh said...

Re: RBG ~ The truth shall set you free!

eric said...

This is like the biased MSM that pretends they don't have a bias. That pretends they aren't all Democrats with bylines.

Why should we allow judges to pretend anymore? What she did was enlightening and helps us move past the fa├žade. We don't even need law professors anymore. Instead, we need our lawyers and judges to learn rhetoric. How to defend their philosophy of governance using legal constructs.

Forget jurisprudence.

We will get back to that once everyone figures out how awful society is once you move in this direction.

Curious George said...

" I wouldn't interpret those provisions too broadly. Judging would collapse if we took "any other political activity" too seriously, since deciding cases is political, depending on what you mean by political. All Ginsburg did was answer a question in an interview. She didn't stage or appear at a political event. And her answer was a modest display of feeling: "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president... For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that." It's almost a refusal to respond, an oh, my."

Doubling down on this dumb drivel? BTW, you forgot the "leave the country part". Now change "Donald Trump" with "gay son."

David Begley said...

Gillers cites the text and its plain language,

"The Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges says that judges should not "make speeches for a political candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office” or “engage in any other political activity.” "

But RBG is above the law. Just like HRC.

Curious George said...

"Not normal times" is also just bullshit to explain why something that is not okay is all of sudden justifiable.

Interment of America citizens is against the constitution...but these are NOT NORMAL TIMES.

TreeJoe said...

I found RBG's comments to be unacceptable as an American who is represented by her on the supreme court. Not only is it blatantly partial and partisan, and received as such by tons of media outlets, but she should really be required to recuse herself ANY time the solicitor general of such an administration would be arguing before her.

Achilles said...

Non-Normal are all of the race riots going on around the country at the moment. Just had a talk with a friend about 2 of her daughters who are fighting and refuse to talk to each other because one of them said "All lives matter" on facebook. They are going to push this race war to the election.

Things are not going to revert to calm because they wont let it.

Unknown said...

Not sure how what RBG did was not a "oppose a candidate for public office." She said she'd leave the country and that Trump was practically hitler.

How is that not opposing a candidate for public office?

The leftists on the Supreme Court have a problem with ethics, it is clear. Karan should never, ever have opined on Obamacare, since she was involved with defending it! Was that reason enough to recuse yourself, or is this another one of those "Silly poor people, laws don't apply to Democrats" that we have going on in this country now?

--Vance

Shootist said...

An "oh my" is preferable. I vote for senility.

Brando said...

There's a slippery slope, as we've had politicians go on to the Supreme Court (Hugo Black, Earl Warren) and their feelings about policies or politicians can become known. But the ideal is for them to be "above politics" certainly when they are on the Court, and to just stay out of that mess. Her comments may have violated judicial ethics codes, and certainly take away from the concept of an independent judiciary.

And if we start justifying debasement of the judiciary because "oh no, Trump is a uniquely bad candidate" (and let the justice herself make that judgment) then we really have no standard anyway.

Ginsburg done goofed, and the consequences will never be the same.

Nonapod said...

If recent history is any indication, Supreme Court justices can do or say pretty much whatever they want. They're appointed for life and aren't really accountable to anyone. Some may believe that they're accountable to some old scrap of paper, but that's a joke obviously. I mean, sure... technically they could be impeached if they did something really, really bad like straight up murdering someone I suppose. But other than that it's all good.

B said...

Why are we better off if justices hide their preferences and biases? We know they have them. This reminds me of objective journalism which of course there's no such thing. Knowing is better than not knowing. Knowing before Senate confirmation is even better.

TreeJoe said...

"Why are we better off if justices hide their preferences and biases? We know they have them. This reminds me of objective journalism which of course there's no such thing. Knowing is better than not knowing. Knowing before Senate confirmation is even better."

When you pronounce something publicly, you tend to reinforce your way of thinking and feel a need to defend it since it is out there publicly. People who think the same way approach you and talk as a friend, reinforcing your perceptions. People who think differently than you are now less likely to present their opinions in cordial conversation, because they don't want to insult or affront a Justice.

By remaining insular except within the private discussions of the Justices about your political positions, you give yourself the opportunity to take different positions and opinions without as much influence to stay a certain course.

That is why it is considered ethical, among other reasons, to keep your mouth shut in such situations.

tola'at sfarim said...

since you're bringing up hitler....

http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/24/ruth-bader-ginsburg-really-wants-poor-people-to-stop-having-babies/
Ginsburg is America's "crazy old racist great-aunt." Try to explain away remarks like "Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of" or "It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people."

Unknown said...

I am glad that I know she dislikes trump personally. now she can safely recuse herself without any confusion.

If I were a justice and supported a particular candidate openly because the other is UNTHINKABLE and that candidate had a gore v bush case before me, would I faithfully apply the law or should I recuse myself. not a tough call in the world of unofficial ethics.

William said...

Trump charged that a judge might be prejudiced against him, and the roof fell in on him. RBG announced that she was prejudiced against Trump, and they constructed a roof above her.

ObeliskToucher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"Normally Supreme Court justices should refrain from commenting on partisan politics. But these are not normal times." Vacuous. Anyone can always make that argument.

"Judging would collapse if we took "any other political activity" too seriously, since deciding cases is political, depending on what you mean by political." No, it wouldn't. Many countries have no problem taking it seriously. Of course, in the U.S. even the courts become Prog rackets.

"All Ginsburg did was answer a question in an interview." Yeah. right, that's "all."

"her answer was a modest display of feeling" Yeah, right: "I can’t imagine what this place would be." There's modesty and calm judgment for you. What would she have to say to become "immodest"?

"It's almost a refusal to respond, an oh, my." Almost, depending on what the meaning of almost is, but not quite. In fact, as the WSJ points out and yours truly already said last night, it's her victory lap. Message: we won, get over it. Recusal, judicial ethics: none of it matters. I can't imagine what this place would be if Progs behaved themselves. Of course, some law prof might accuse me of being bent on trying to use political power to get traditional judicial ethics back. I wish, but I'm not that naive.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

When you're in MS Word, and you go to Page Layout and then Margins, Normal is one inch: Top, Bottom, Left and Right.

ObeliskToucher said...

Just try to imagine the reaction if Clarence Thomas were to say "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Hillary Clinton as our president... For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that." MSNBC & CNN would need to replace all of their anchors after that set of aneurysms...

David said...

It wasn't normal times when we interred American citizens of Japanese descent. It wasn't normal times when we decided to waterboard people to make them talk. The whole point of principles--Constitutional or otherwise--is to provide a guide for all times. This Butler person is a dangerous fool.

mccullough said...

It's good that the three branches of the federal government criticize each other. People finally have a negative view of the Supreme Court. Let's all criticize away. I thought Obama skipping Scalia's funeral was fine, too. Ginsburg is a politician who many people criticize. After she lost the W v Gore case, I'm glad she was disappointed. Gore is a weirdo. The Supreme Court made the right choice in that one.

wholelottasplainin' said...

What William said!!!

walter said...

Her concern over the future of the court..is it really about Trump or any non-Obama/full lefty?

grackle said...

But these are not normal times.

Maybe. Speaking of Hitler: Isn’t this the same excuse used by Hitler, his followers and apologists for the Nazi takeover of the German democratic government?

Perhaps this is a time when things are swinging back to normal. To a time when Presidents put America and Americans first.

To a time before the unicorns and rainbows took over, way back when domestic and foreign policy was made with concrete, realistic American interests as the guide.

To a time when Presidents did not believe that domestic terrorist attacks could or should be “absorbed.”

Rob McLean said...

But these are not normal times

They never are.

Birkel said...

It's easy to form opinions when one likes the outcomes, eh, Althouse?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Recusal from a few cases? That's playing small ball. I predict Donald Trump will soon be calling for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign and Congressman Steve "the Fence" King will be calling for her impeachment. Swing for the fences, boys. Or is that the trap?

Dr Weevil said...

I've done your "easy mind experiment" (10:49am), David Begley:
Scalia died five months ago tomorrow, which means he knew for the better part of a year that Hillary would almost certainly be the Democratic nominee, and I'm sure he didn't need Comey to tell him just how sleazy she is. And yet he said nothing. Alito and Thomas are still with us, and they also have said nothing. What would the NYT say if one of them intervened in the election, as she has? It's a stupid question, because they haven't, and they won't. I suspect the NYT would call for impeachment, not just recusal, in such an extremely hypothetical case, but we'll never know, will we? As usual, a Democrat thinks rules are just for Republicans.

cubanbob said...

RBG should have paused and considered what could be be a matter in front of her court: the felonious traitor gets elected and sworn in, a Republican Congress overrides her veto of the new special prosecutor law that enables Congress to put in play an army of special prosecutors reviewing all of both Clinton's activities, that of their aides and associates and that of Obama followed by the numerous prosecutions for the various felonies.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Who's being not normal? A. The person adjudged non-normal, thus unleashing others from the obligation to be normal or B. the person claiming things are now already non-normal and thus non-normal measures can be used?

The question is flawed.

Arnold puts up a yard sign saying his neighbor Bertram is an asshole. This is not normal.

Bertram, citing that constraints of normalcy are released, burns down Arnold's house.

But, to the point at issue: restraint from political comment is the norm for SCOTUS "Justices." Roberts was wrong, if he so did, to express emotion during Obama's SOTU speech. Ginsberg, given the choice to show restraint and normalcy or to consider the bounds now expanded, chose rather to burn down the neighborhood.


readering said...

Reminiscent of the report of O'Connor watching the returns in 2000 and exclaiming "this is terrible" when Florida was called for Gore. It was because she wanted to retire under a Republican. Maybe Ginsburg thinks the same.

Hagar said...

For the #neverTrumpers, it should be pointed out that P.T. Barnum was no buffoon, but a quite successful businessman in his day, and his circus has provided great family entertainment for generations of American families.

grackle said...

The Morning Joes this AM are a bit nervous about new polls that have Trump and Hillary essentially tied. The polls of the swing states are especially disquieting to them. And I also believe I detect a glimmer of the realization that Trump’s true standing may be difficult to gauge with conventional polling. Scarborough related an anecdote about how people were whispering to him that they’re going to vote for Trump.

BlackLivesMutter shut down a freeway. If BlackLivesMutter didn’t exist it would be in Trump’s self-interest to invent them. They create Trump voters every time they make the headlines.

And RBG? C’mon … there’s a lot of ways she could have answered the question without offering a political opinion. But I’m glad she answered as she did. It’s more votes for Trump. It has to give pause to some anti-Trumpsters.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Hammond's first thought at reading Ginsburg's statement was: "Well, I could not have imagined a Supreme Court with so many "Justices" clearly dedicated to judicial activism. And yet, here we are, (expletive deleted).

cubanbob said...

"But these are not normal times"

Having been voting for forty years I don't recall a normal time where it was considered normal for the nominee of a major political party to be a known criminal and traitor in addition to being certified by the FBI as an ignorant, unsophisticated and grossly negligent person. In this election Trump is the normal candidate. God have mercy on us.

Fernandinande said...

"I can’t imagine what this place would be...

Not much of an imagination. And if she can't imagine she can't really be concerned, either.

For the country, it could be four years.

A genius speaks.

For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that."

Those government lawyers sure have a way with words.

since deciding cases is political, depending on what you mean by political.

In that context I'd take "political" to mean "ignoring or bending the law to get the answer you want" or "the decision depends on whether They are one of Us."

Darrell said...

Ginsburg also waxed on about Scalia's death being a boon to the Leftist cause--in recent Court decisions. If anyone ever brings up "the beautiful friendship of RBG and Scalia" again, I'll puke in their f'in face.

buwaya puti said...

Ref first comment-
the choice is between PT Barnum and Juan Peron. Bill is Evita if you want to stretch it.

machine said...

Just think if her spouse was the founder of a very political group that is publicly involved in defeating members of the other political party...nah, no big deal.

Lem said...

"These are not normal times, so suspend the normal rules" is a Trumpian endorsement.

shiloh said...

"P.T. Barnum was no buffoon, but a quite successful businessman in his day, and his circus has provided great family entertainment for generations of American families."

Pretty much how Trump won the Rep nomination ...

There's a sucker born every minute.

Every crowd has a silver lining.

Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.

Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.

bagoh20 said...

She's a big judge, really big one. Her comments showed very poor judgment due to her lack of ability to control her emotions. Perfect person to be a really big judge making really big judgements. It's kind like an FBI director who can't find a crime despite making a great case for it's existence. We are ruled by feels, top to bottom - a big kumbaya fireside picnic in the wilderness where we tell imaginary scary stories and hug, and nobody wants to get firewood or scare off the wolves circling the smell of beef jerky and wine coolers.

Yancey Ward said...

The juxtaposition, of how Ginsburg is defended/lambasted for publicly stating a preference for the presidential election, and how Trump was lambasted/defended for publicly questioning the bias of federal judge is enlightening- it illuminates the hypocrisy everywhere.

Did anyone really not know who Ginsburg wanted to win this election? Isn't it quite likely that deep in her heart she was quite happy when Scalia died with a Democrat in the presidency? The facade serves no real purpose- if one brings a question into court that has a known political divide, one can literally predict the judge's decision with a high success rate based solely on who appointed them in the first place. I say let Ginsburg state her preference- I prefer transparency much, much more than I like a feigned non-bias.

damikesc said...

"Normally it's bad, but these aren't normal times"?

Can he explain when the "normal" times are? There's always a justification for doing something bad or stupid.

There's a slippery slope, as we've had politicians go on to the Supreme Court (Hugo Black, Earl Warren) and their feelings about policies or politicians can become known. But the ideal is for them to be "above politics" certainly when they are on the Court, and to just stay out of that mess. Her comments may have violated judicial ethics codes, and certainly take away from the concept of an independent judiciary.

I don't think it is unreasonable to expect somebody who is put in a job for life with nearly limitless power to follow some rules in terms of decorum. If RBG can't abide by it, she is free to resign. The more power one wields, the more we should expect them to abide by the rules.

Progressives believe that --- but only for conservatives.

And if we start justifying debasement of the judiciary because "oh no, Trump is a uniquely bad candidate" (and let the justice herself make that judgment) then we really have no standard anyway.

I'd love somebody to ask her why Hillary isn't uniquely awful. What she has done, both the utter fuck-ups of her career and her rampant sleaziness, dwarfs Trump's faults.

boycat said...

The supposed erstwhile "friendship" between Scalia and Ginsberg was always a one-way street, a testament to Scalia's open-mindedness and generosity, and certainly not Ginsberg's, as we can all see.

buwaya said...

Shiloh,

All those are correct, realistic statements that apply to everyone in politics. You think they don't all think that way? You would rather a politician who successfully pretends to be other than he is?

They are all the same, but the PT Barnums are not only better skilled but more honest. You know what you see when you see Trump. He performs, and lets you know he is performing. The Democrat machine performs too, but they don't want you to know.

Address that.

bagoh20 said...

I'll take a good ol' fashion American circus over a Pyongyang parade any day.

buwaya said...

The other implication of Ginsburgs' statement -

Her contempt of the people, half or so of those over whom she imposes her will, or tries to. Its notable just how easily, casually the master class expresses its sense of superiority these days.

bagoh20 said...

Both of these candidates are embarrassments, who the American hoi polloi have chosen, and I can say that because some of my best friends are Americans.

Laslo Spatula said...

Charles Manson Wants To Talk To You….

Crazy Times, People -- your shit's all gotten loose...!

I told ya about this, but No, I was some kind of Freak, you wouldn't listen. Now the World is living in Charlie Time, and you don't know what to do about it...

Oh man, I am laughing at all you, thinking you are the Ones who know how Things Should Work. Shit: nothing ever works, Man, everything breaks down and fucks up, that's straight from God to Charlie to You…

I remember Ruthie. I bet she don't talk about it much, but she hung out at the Ranch back in the Day. Uptight chick, that Ruthie, she'd act like the food we scored from Dumpsters in the City wasn't good enough for her…

Her and I, we'd argue Real Shit into all hours of the night. She told me she agreed with Helter Skelter and Race War, she just believed the Government should be in charge of it…

And now, look! The Government IS in charge of Helter Skelter, motherfuckers! You thought I was crazy, but let me lay it out for ya:

Government-sanctioned aborting of black children? Helter Skelter!

Placing Gays and Transsexuals ahead of blacks in the Victim Line? Helter Skelter!

Brown waves of violent immigration? Helter Skelter!

Blacks shooting cops and the Government is OK with it? THAT'S Helter Skelter!

I gotta hand it to Ruthie: Ruthie, she believed she could change the World her way. She may not be doing Helter Skelter the way I'd'a done it, but she certainly is good at cracking those eggs for the omelette…

Love and Death and Love,
Charlie


I am Laslo.

Birkel said...

Indeed, buwaya. The assumption is that events will follow their current trajectory. The would-be rulers assume a linear progression because they will it so. This leads to the casualness with which the self-professed elites show their disdain.

History shows that non-linear events are the norm. But nobody notices the Black Swan beforehand.

Rumpletweezer said...

Explains why she's always wearing a bib.

n.n said...

A and B coincide. It has been a progressive slope.

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

Talking down Trump's strength as if he is an embarrassment to his betters in the Patrician GOP is a total waste of good brain power by outdated opinion leaders. Trump's manors is not the issue.

At least Trump uses his brains on the real problems, the first of which is the USA's current weakened state all over the world.

The Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, and the Norks are not the ones in denial. They see the next 6 months as allowing them the best time to attack for territory while Obama's blanket surrender is effectively giving these evil actors permission slips that may not soon come again once Bad Boy Trump is Comander-in-Chief.

Brando said...

"Having been voting for forty years I don't recall a normal time where it was considered normal for the nominee of a major political party to be a known criminal and traitor in addition to being certified by the FBI as an ignorant, unsophisticated and grossly negligent person. In this election Trump is the normal candidate. God have mercy on us."

That's part of what frustrates me about this whole Trump thing--had the GOP even nominated some bland non-entity, the focus right now would be entirely on Hillary and how the Dems could consider nominating someone so out of step with her party, so blithely corrupt, such a weak politician and on top of it all someone so absolutely criminal. The Dems would be talking right now about whether it would be fair to replace her, and asking what they did to get themselves into this mess (instead of the GOP going through all that). Trump has taken the focus off Hillary, and that helps Hillary. It's the only way she can win.

BrianE said...

RBG is just doing her part to usher in the new Reality to America. Leftists have always viewed the SC as the Supreme Force©-- the new Guardians. Once Hillary is elected, Conservatism--capital C, small c, no see in America is officially dead. The body may twitch-- but dead with a capital D, Dead, Dead, Dead.

There will be no conservative initiative at the federal level, state level, county level, navel, knee or big toe that will pass Supreme Court muster. The Living Constitution© will insure that.

The Old Guard is arguing she shouldn't have said what she said, but mean she shouldn't have said that at this point in time, that she let the veil slip, but in reality the veil was already shredded. She's just stating the obvious.

There was a time, in my lifetime, when the Supremes, esconced in their black robes, inscrutable, like some mythological oracles passed judgment and we believed them. How naive.

hombre said...

It is unfortunate to see people in responsible positions like Butler and Justice Ginsburg resort to hyperbole and a situational ethics sliding scale of "normal" to further their political goals.

Why am I not surprised that there is a law prof who thinks a fascist is someone who isn't a PC toady. An "appeal to radical ethnocentrism among white people ... is the mark of a fascist." So that's it, eh? No dictator, no stifling of dissent, no authoritarian central government? Hmmm. Maybe those things hit too close to the current occupant of the WH to suit the good professor. Easier just to distort the definition.

As for Butler's main premise: The jurists suggested by Trump pose no threat to the rule of law simply because they cannot be expected to join in lockstep with the likes of Ginsburg.

When I was a law student our professors were people worthy of admiration. They were scrupulously honest and did not engage in hysterical, politically charged defamation of public figures just because they could get away with it. Of course, in that era there was no forum for it because newspapers didn't print such drivel.

Unknown said...


http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ginsburg-trump-faker-tax-returns?utm_content=buffer75cad&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

"Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has ramped up her criticism of Donald Trump in recent days, going so far as to say late Monday that the businessman is a "faker" who must release his tax returns.

"He is a faker," Ginsburg said in an interview with CNN. "He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. ... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."

It’s highly unusual for a Supreme Court justice to be so candid as to offer their thoughts, let alone criticisms, of a candidate running for the U.S. presidency.

Ginsburg went on to say that at first she thought Trump's candidacy "was funny" and lamented that he's received "so much free publicity."

Trump has so far not released his tax returns, pointing to an ongoing audit. His spokeswoman Hope Hicks echoed that explanation when asked by CNN to comment on Ginsburg's remarks."

I love this woman. You people would love it if one of the conservative Justices made the same sort of public comments about Clinton, and you would defend them, at least be honest.

Henry said...

When Scalia was alive, the left had a little piece work industry of outrage artists who feigned shock every time he gave a speech. There was always something politically unprincipled about what he said, or where he spoke, or both.

Scalia's pronouncements bothered me not at all; nor does RBG's.

mccullough said...

Ginsburg is a northeastern Jewish woman. She probably called Reagan Ronnie Raygun. She's lead an insulated life of hanging around like minded rubes and spent the last three decades getting fawned on by more like minded rubes. Nothing she says or does is surprising. She's as predictable as football interview.

grackle said...

… had the GOP even nominated some bland non-entity, the focus right now would be entirely on Hillary …

We had the “bland non-entity,” Romney, last time out. It didn’t work. The MSM/Democrats have defeating bland non-entities down to a science.

mockturtle said...
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Michael The Magnificent said...

If it weren't for double standards, leftists wouldn't have any standards at all.

They are walking, talking, shameless hypocrites.

James Pawlak said...

Since you brought it up, the nation that In-Justice would inflict on us is one where: The People do NOT have a right to keep and bear arms; And, where the State decides who will be born and who will be exterminated.

That nations was described in the movie "Shindler's List".

mockturtle said...

Her statement was, at best, injudicious.

Dave in Tucson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

There is no question that the population-control and social engineering crowd have been overwhelmingly leftists because they see these measures as 'progressive'. Why do so few blacks refuse to acknowledge that they have long been the intended target of most of these measures? The Left is racism at its most insidious.

hombre said...

Unknown: "I love this woman. You people would love it if one of the conservative Justices made the same sort of public comments about Clinton, and you would defend them, at least be honest."

You really don't understand the nature of integrity, do you?

Of course you don't. Therefore you can rationalize supporting an undeniable grifter who has lied to Congress and the American people innumerable times about her dismal performance in public office and who compromised national security in order to insulate her shady behavior from FOIA disclosures.

It is ever so with idolaters.

Unknown said...

Hombre,
I wonder when Scalia was saying injudicious things in public, if you had any concern or criticism. Of course you didn't. Integrity escapes so many.

walter said...

Unknown said..."He is a faker," Ginsburg said in an interview with CNN. "He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. ... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."
--
Change he to she and compare the level of damage down by the candidates.
Yeah..Clinton is a candidate of consistency..well..in a way...

Matthew Sablan said...

"We had the “bland non-entity,” Romney, last time out. It didn’t work."

-- Exactly. Republicans put up McCain and Romney; two moderate, middle-of-the-road, willing to compromise Republicans. They were turned into caricatures. Romney was accused of deliberately giving a woman cancer! They made up an affair for McCain!

I'm not a Trump fan, but I must admit, the choices I've made haven't worked, so if the Republican party wants to try to out demagogue the left, I guess that's as good a plan as any.

LL said...

The old battle-ax has become unhinged. She is doubling down.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/12/politics/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-donald-trump-faker/index.html

shiloh said...

"He performs, and lets you know he is performing."

Indeed, as previously mentioned.

Trump's a bullshitter!

Everyone knows he's a bullshitter.

He know's everyone knows he's a bullshitter.

Everyone knows he knows everyone knows he's a bullshitter.

So he keeps bullshitting ad nauseam.

>

Trump doesn't care because he never wanted to become president ~ he just wanted the attention. Props for achieving his goal.

Mission accomplished!

richardsson said...

Well, as an infamous American politician told a congressional committee not long ago, "what difference, at this point, does it make?" RBG has ably fulfilled her role on the court as expected. What she has done now is openly express what most of us already know, like a three year old openly telling everyone the embarrassing secrets of her parents. Where the danger to the court lies today is in the profound disillusionment of the other side with most of "their" justices. They were not appointed to the court to go along and get along.

Dr Weevil said...

Unknown (1:50pm) - still too lazy to distinguish himself from the other 'Unknown' who seems to be posting on this very thread:
You want to try quoting some of the "injudicious" things Scalia said, and state how they are comparable to what Ginsburg said?
When you wrote (1:24pm) "You people would love it if one of the conservative Justices made the same sort of public comments about Clinton, and you would defend them, at least be honest", you wrote something utterly false. I for one would be deeply disappointed if Alito or Thomas were ever to sink to Ginsburg's level. I say "would", not "will" because I'm pretty damned sure it's not going to happen. Are you grossly prejudiced and embarrassingly mistaken, or a damned liar?

Brando said...

"We had the “bland non-entity,” Romney, last time out. It didn’t work. The MSM/Democrats have defeating bland non-entities down to a science."

We never had one running against someone so unpopular and politically unskilled. Different campaign years call for different ideal candidates. Do you really think Hillary is more formidable or in a better position than Obama in 2008 or 2012?

And for Romney at least, his problem was that Obama was able to make the campaign a referendum on him--all about Romney's business history (with a nice assist from Romney's slithery primary opponents) of killing cancer patients and laying people off. Hillary of course would do her damndest to do the same to some other bland type this year, but who can doubt that her job is made easy with Trump?

Dr Weevil said...

I'm surprised shiloh hasn't endorsed ad nauseam bullshitter Trump. Usually like is attracted to like.

n.n said...

Hitler supported the "final solution" (i.e. abortion rites). His regime supported clinical cannibalism (e.g. Planned Parenthood). He supported class diversity schemes (i.e. denigrate individual dignity). He promised and implemented redistributive change. He supported selective exclusion or "=". He engaged in progressive wars and caused refugee crises.

Never again. Maybe. The secular opiates are that good.

I wonder what other religious/moral instruction the liberal judges will receive from their gods in the twilight zone.

Static Ping said...

The Supreme Court is supposed to be the branch of brutal impartiality. Every action that brings that into question brings into question the legitimacy of the court. Ruth should know better. The only defense I can provide is compared to the other ways the court has tarnished its legacy, this is relatively minor.

shiloh said...

"I'm surprised shiloh hasn't endorsed ad nauseam bullshitter Trump."

Let the record show Dr W does not disagree Trump is a bullshitter!

The truth shall set you free!

Levi Starks said...

In earlier times things like this might have bothered me, but lately I've come to the conclusion that in the progressive future Into to which I'm being ushered, I'm likely to suffer far less than those who are clamoring for totalitarianism.

Paddy O said...

There's not really a post here that this fits in, but I suppose it goes well here as a contrast to the unhelpful rhetoric that seems to drive most of our politics these days:
Condoleeza Rice's prayer for the nation.

Sadly, she doesn't have any interest in being President.

R. Chatt said...

People on the left have been pushing Ginsburg to quit for at least a year, and she refused. She wanted a little more time. I believe she is ready to retire and she must really think Trump is going to win. This electioneering is wrong and an abuse of her position but it is the least she can do for her side and herself. If Trump wins her friends will really be pissed at her. They might not even be nice at parties and she'll have to deal with endless questions about why didn't you retire in 2015? I'm sounding a little like Laslo, I know.

B is more like Hitler. Non-normal measures can and must be used. Trump is just being Trump, very commonsensical and unconventional. I'm guessing Trump is A and Ginsburg is B?

Levi Starks said...

And in what can only be seen Trumpesque, RGB has just doubled down, and made further clarifications why Trump is such a bad man.

damikesc said...

That's part of what frustrates me about this whole Trump thing--had the GOP even nominated some bland non-entity, the focus right now would be entirely on Hillary and how the Dems could consider nominating someone so out of step with her party, so blithely corrupt, such a weak politician and on top of it all someone so absolutely criminal.

I'll be honest --- I doubt that'd be the case. They'd demand the candidate discuss BLM or whatever the cause du jour is and no answer would satisfy.

I love this woman. You people would love it if one of the conservative Justices made the same sort of public comments about Clinton, and you would defend them, at least be honest.

Would I? I don't know. It's never happened before. But glad to see you're on board with this.

Basil said...

Professor, where is your defense of the majesty of the law and the importance of legitimacy in the ability of the rule of law to exist?

Don't see it.

If you think law can exist without legitimacy, you are not a student of history. And not much of a lawyer.

See, Sir Thomas More.

Gahrie said...

That's part of what frustrates me about this whole Trump thing--had the GOP even nominated some bland non-entity, the focus right now would be entirely on Hillary

Bullshit. If the Republicans nominated Al Gore, with Kerry as his VP, the MSM would still attack the Republicans and defend the Democrats.

Brando said...

"I'll be honest --- I doubt that'd be the case. They'd demand the candidate discuss BLM or whatever the cause du jour is and no answer would satisfy."

The Clintonites would certainly try, but to limited effect. Look at how the Democratic primaries went--clearly vast pools of liberals don't care for her, conservatives of course hate her, and she's not doing so hot with moderates. She can try her pandering, but she's not good at it, and her relentless attacks would have diminishing returns after several campaigns of moderates hearing about how Republicans want to push granny off the cliff and steal abortions from young women and put black men in chains. It'd work a lot less than it used to, and by default a calm, quiet pol would crush Hillary.

Besides, I don't get the logic of "we tried safe, moderate, serious Mitt Romney and lost by six points...I know what'd work this time! An unschooled crazyman with no set beliefs except a glass ego and an ability to stray off message and get his foot down his throat at every turn!" Vulnerable as Clinton is, Trump has a ceiling of support that he has yet to break through. He may still pull this out, but at this point it's looking like a longer shot than ever.

campy said...

"Not-normal times," to Butler, is when the democrat might lose.

We are actually in normal times.

Brando said...

"Bullshit. If the Republicans nominated Al Gore, with Kerry as his VP, the MSM would still attack the Republicans and defend the Democrats."

Sure the Clintonite press would (though not the right leaning press or even the anti-Clinton leftist press--it's far more splintered than ten years ago). But how much effect would that have on people's opinions? Clinton would still be in serious trouble.

Ignoring Trump for a moment, we have to realize that Hillary has the lowest ratings in decades for any newly nominated candidate from a major party. Her likabilities and favorabilities are well underwater, she is synonymous with scandal, and she cannot connect. This is a disastrous candidate, who by rights should be behind by double digits the whole year, with the only question being just how much of a landslide the GOP would have on her.

But the GOP never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Szoszolo said...

RBG is enjoying her celebrity a bit too much, and she seems to be at that "Fuck decorum -- I'm going to tell people exactly what I think" stage that a lot of people reach when they're elderly. It's time for Justice G. to retire.

walter said...

Hil says she's going spearhead investment into good paying jobs. I too would like to get a piece of that lucrative speech-makin' market...as opposed to the "not so shovel-ready" jobs Obmama joked about. Count me in. The laundering of influence via the foundation, not so much. But hey..these are different times.

walter said...

Brando,
As one Trumpster put it, this is the year of "fuck all y'all". So..assume the position.

Curious George said...

"Unknown said...
I love this woman. You people would love it if one of the conservative Justices made the same sort of public comments about Clinton, and you would defend them, at least be honest."

Well, we have many decades of combined history of Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia. Find of an example of any of them regarding any Democratic POTUS candidate.

As far as your love, Justice Ginsburg, my hope is that she ends up hanging around too long, is replaced by a Thomas or Scalia, and becomes a pariah to the left before she dies, in what I hope is a long an painful experience.

Brando said...

"As one Trumpster put it, this is the year of "fuck all y'all". So..assume the position."

Looks like the country is already assuming the position, because no matter what happens we're all getting it good and hard for the next four years.

grackle said...

Do you really think Hillary is more formidable or in a better position than Obama in 2008 or 2012?

I think against any conventional GOP nominee ANY Democrat presidential nominee has a 5 to 10 point built-in advantage. The MSM will see to that. I haven’t seen anyone other than Trump that has the slightest chance of breaking that stranglehold.

And I heartily disagree with the concept of the way to win is by nominating bland candidates.

Brando said...

"I think against any conventional GOP nominee ANY Democrat presidential nominee has a 5 to 10 point built-in advantage. The MSM will see to that. I haven’t seen anyone other than Trump that has the slightest chance of breaking that stranglehold."

They have a slight advantage (I don't know about 5-10 points, and I think the media's help these days is overrated) due to the electoral college and demographics, but by no means insurmountable. Normally, the Dems have this edge, but this is a year that they made an error in nominating Hillary. She is by far the weakest nominee for the Dems since at least Dukakis (and maybe even then--Dukakis wasn't widely considered a criminal).

"And I heartily disagree with the concept of the way to win is by nominating bland candidates."

Ideally I'd agree not to nominate a "bland" candidate, but a bland candidate is still preferable to one with net negatives.

khesanh0802 said...

To me a Supreme Court justice is in the same position as a military officer. You may have differences with a civilian superior, but you can not make them public unless you resign and become a private citizen. Ginsburg's comments were inappropriate for someone in her office and if she were anywhere but on the court she would be disciplined for them.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I've been thinking about this post of yours since it first went up this morning. And my response is that, if anything, abnormal times such as ours call for more probity on the part of our judiciary, not less. Ginsburg's foolish (I was going to write "injudicious," but she's way past that) comments demonstrate that the Court, at least on the left, is populated by individuals utterly lacking in judicial temperament, and are a serious blot on her record.

Simon said...

Michael McClain said...
"I doubt that she'll recuse herself from any cases involving a Trump Administration."

I share that doubt. Justice Ginsburg will never recuse herself from any cases involving a Trump administration... Nor hear any cases involving a Trump administration. There will never be any such thing from which to hear cases.

Martin said...

Yes, well, at the risk of violating Godwin's Law, after the Reichstag Fire Hitler said these are not normal times so he needed extraordinary powers.

These times are no less normal than any other election year that I can recall and I am 65. EVERY 4 years the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, supposedly.

narciso said...

Not surprising butler believes in jury nullification.

gerry said...

Ginsburg on Roe v. Wade revealed her sensitivity to important matters: "Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion."

Ugly stuff.

wholelottasplainin' said...

I love this woman. You people would love it if one of the conservative Justices made the same sort of public comments about Clinton, and you would defend them, at least be honest.

Unknown HAS to use the subjunctive mood (contrary to fact) , saying conservatives "would" do this , and "would" do that, because conservative justices HAVEN'T done what RGB did.

So Unknown's just a complete ass for posing a hypothetical, and then telling us we aren't honest unless we agree with it!!!

BZZZTTT!!!

Harold said...

William said...
Trump charged that a judge might be prejudiced against him, and the roof fell in on him. RBG announced that she was prejudiced against Trump, and they constructed a roof above her.

Methinks this would be the most up upvoted thread comment if up/down votes were activated.

hombre said...

Unknown said...
"Hombre,
I wonder when Scalia was saying injudicious things in public, if you had any concern or criticism. Of course you didn't. Integrity escapes so many." 7/12/16, 1:50 PM

Predictable response and illustrative of my point. Scalia's social commentary did not amount to partisan politicking for or against a candidate and did not breach SCOTUS tradition. Ginsburg's "move to New Zealand" snark was worthy of some adolescent moonbat, not a Supreme Court Justice.

It's just beyond your ken.

coupe said...

khesanh0802 said...To me a Supreme Court justice is in the same position as a military officer.

Not really. Each justice is appointed for life, and has no superior except men like Oswald.

Michael K said...

" If BlackLivesMutter didn’t exist it would be in Trump’s self-interest to invent them. They create Trump voters every time they make the headlines. "

I agree and they will be working on a landslide for him during the convention.

eric said...

Now RBG is at it again saying Trump is a faker.

I'm glad she can't keep her mouth shut.

traditionalguy said...

She is in her second childhood when being a true Liberal Feminist was reality in her privileged life. Realists like Trump look like the fakes to a delusional mind.

AReasonableMan said...

It was a stupid thing to say. And she shouldn't even be on the court, too fucking old.

Jon Ericson said...

ARM makes a comment that makes sense! (thx for that obligatory fuck, you're so fucking smart)

walter said...

Ah..she's not too old..well..only in the sense that it adds to her sense of job protection. And..she's workin' on her legacy..

Swede said...

She knows President Trump will replace her with Senator Cruz.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You go girl! What is the institutional captital the Supreme Court, capital that depends on maintaining the appearance of impartially, next to the opportunity for a sick burn on a terrible politician. Woo-hoo!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, kick a concept like "creul neutrality" square in the nuts, Justice G!

Some of what judges do is political, so why should we pretend that they do anything other than act as politicians...is that what you are arguing, Professor?
Why the hell should anyone respect the Court or the Law if that's the case...why would we willingly give that political branch the ability to override the decisions of the other political branches... especially when we (the people) theoretically have pretty direct control over those other two branches?

If they are just politicians why should I allow them to have any power? If they are just politicians isn't it, in fact, imperative that their power be taken away...by any means necessary (to coin a phrase)??

shiloh said...

"working on a landslide for him"

Is MK this fucking stupid? Rhetorical.

Even Althouse has given up on her current heartthrob Scott Adams landslidenonsense.

Do yourself a big favor old geezer and take landslide out of your vocabulary.

btw, most of Reagan Dems are just like Dutch ~ dead!

Jon Ericson said...

You a gangbanger Hoodlum? You bad?

Jon Ericson said...

I like the smell of rotten fish. It reminds me of my girlfriend, she dumped me.

Fernandinande said...

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
When you're in MS Word, and you go to Page Layout and then Margins, Normal is one inch: Top, Bottom, Left and Right.


Normally MS Word itself is abnormal.

Jon Ericson said...

Hi there, normal commenters, somebody is impersonating me.
Poor form.

Jon Ericson said...

Somebody is impersonating me.

Sebastian said...

The most telling part of the RBG interview is what she didn't say (or was reported to have said): not a word about HRC's law-breaking. A justice even mildly concerned about appearing even-handed, about rule of law etc. etc. might have made some harrumphing noises about it, if only to offset the harsh comments about Trump. But no. No need anymore. She and they can let it all hang out. A few hand-wringing pearl-clutchers here and there will mumble on about judicial ethics and how this is So Wrong. But they don't care. Nothing and no one will stop them.

Jon Ericson said...

Just click on my pic.
Easy to tell.

Jon Ericson said...

No one cares.

Jon Ericson said...

So which "Unkown" are you?

Jon Ericson said...

I'm known, who are you? My name is Jon and I'm a troll who comes here nightly to annoy people.

Jon Ericson said...

If you're Known, who are you?

n.n said...

Sebastian:

Clinton violated the laws of the old order. The "new" order that Ginsburg et al support seeks to unify the world under a central government. The refugee crises, excessive emigration, illegal immigration, and abortion rites are pursued to marginalize and suppress native populations through class diversity schemes and selective [evolutionary] dysfunction. Creating a Cuban missile-like crisis in the Black Sea and Eurasia is intended to provoke Russia. This is why the far left and far right are phobic about Trump who claims he will reform this purported new order. Their pro-choice (i.e. selective) religious/moral philosophy is designed with the purpose of settling the cognitive dissonance that people experience as their moral center reacts to the unmitigated hypocrisy of their actions.

walter said...


Blogger shiloh said...
Do yourself a big favor old geezer..
--
Kind of a pattern..so many lefties resorting to ageism. Must have been part of the recent curriculum..."Oh yeah...you're gonna die anyway!!"
Oh the irony of having to vote for Hil..

gbarto said...

Gramsci's march through the institutions:
Capture education and high school graduates can't read; college graduates can't get jobs.
Capture journalism and entertainment news is the only thing people trust anymore.
Capture government workers and everyone makes jokes about lazy government employees.

It's a funny thing. Every time the left captures something, it turns to ash soon enough. It's almost as though they had a subconscious death-wish: to Cloward-Piven themselves.

So the left is going to try to capture the prestige of the Supreme Court for its own ends now. Not a problem. Soon, Americans will have as little regard for the Court as they do for journalists and politicians. Glad to see RBG speaking openly to hasten the work.

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Liberals are always great at coming up with the "unprincipled exception"

Y'know:

-they're feminists but they don't want to hurt Clinton
-they're pacifists but...Israel must be supported
-they believe in the rule of law but...immigration is different
-they believe in an independent Judiciary but...trump
-they believe in ethics in government but...Clinton

mockturtle said...

they believe in ethics in government but...Clinton

I would dispute that Liberals have ever believed in governmental ethics. Or any other kind of ethics, for that matter.

mockturtle said...

My name is Jon and I'm a troll who comes here nightly to annoy people.

That's right! And he does an admirable job of it, too! ;-)

Jon Ericson said...

THX ;-)

mockturtle said...

THX ;-)

De nada.

Big Mike said...

Oh Good Lord!!! Even Slate thinks that Ginsburg has overstepped the line.

Unknown said...

And so, sensing the menace that Trump undoubtedly poses to her country, Ginsburg abandoned judicial propriety to wrestle in the mud with a candidate she detests. It is not pretty, it is not pleasant, and it may not even be that smart. But it may be the one thing the justice can do to help prevent a President Trump. And to her mind, that alone may make it worthwhile.

Maybe preventing a Trump presidency is more important to her than her legacy as a Supreme Court Justice. Maybe she's the ultimate patriot.

Michael K said...

"Maybe preventing a Trump presidency is more important to her than her legacy as a Supreme Court Justice. Maybe she's the ultimate patriot."

Yes, just like Aaron Burr was preventing the S&L scandal. Are you always this dumb?

Jupiter said...

"Normally Supreme Court justices should refrain from commenting on partisan politics. But these are not normal times."

And this is no normal Supreme Court justice.

Michael K said...

Do yourself a big favor old geezer and take landslide out of your vocabulary.

Proof that it does not take advanced age or senility to make one a fool.

iowan2 said...

I see Ginsburg has doubled down and is trashing Trump in another interview. Its evident she has no need for the rules she would hold other judges to.

Trump needs to tie Ginsberg's non existent ethics, with Clinton's wifes, non existent ethics and roll that all into a big package of the Democrat Party.

sane_voter said...

Does RBG have an alibi for the night Scalia passed?

Jon Ericson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Ericson said...

Unknown sez:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com yadda yadda
God bless you, Mz Tool.

eric said...

Blogger Jon Ericson said...
If you're Known, who are you?


Actually, don't need to click on your pick. When he writes, it's a little orange box with a white B in it for Blogger.

When you write, there is a red circle with a G in it next to your name.

Easier than having to click!

mockturtle said...

He apparently lives somewhere in the pancreas.

Jon Ericson said...

G+ is the actual Jon Ericson
"Blogger" Jon Ericson is Unknown being a pain in the ass.
Got it?
No?
Too Bad.

I like it here in the pancreas,
Much better than the rectum.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kovacs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kovacs said...

And by the way, who's more like Hitler? A or B?

Since Trump regularly invokes both A and B as rationalizations, you're not exactly rebutting the Hitler comparisons.

Martin said...

AS for you question about who is more like Hitler, it depends on the facts of the situation.

For all his faults, to me the idea that Trump is the return of Hitler is totally absurd.

But some people seem to really believe that Trump=Hitler. I think they are nuts, and evince lack of intelligence, wisdom, perspective, and are ignorant of what Hitler was really all about. But they are sincere.