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

  
Via:  vic-eldred  •  2 months ago  •  29 comments

By:   JONATHAN TURLEY

“A Judge Would Be Disqualified”: Justice Ginsburg Again Wades Into Political Controversies In Interview
“if a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified from sitting on the case.”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


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  sexism racism self-hating women domineering boyfriends Russian hackers Bernie 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.


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Jonathan Turley


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Vic Eldred
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    2 months ago

Inappropriate comments?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    2 months ago

I doubt if she will last through Trump's second term. Perhaps she can be removed for dementia.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 months ago

384

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.1.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 months ago

Can you imagine what that's going to be like?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
2  Sean Treacy    2 months ago

She's a politician on the bench. She doesn't really try to hide it. 

 
 
 
MUVA
2.1  MUVA  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago

She is a hack and shouldn’t have ever been put on the court.

 
 
 
devangelical
3  devangelical    2 months ago

I have no problem with RBG discussing women's individual freedom of choice or the religiously challenged forces still determined to overturn that decision and impose their unamerican non-secular values on the unwilling in a secular country, especially since the issue was settled by the SCOTUS 47 years ago. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1  Greg Jones  replied to  devangelical @3    2 months ago

But don't you agree that some common sense restrictions be placed on abortion? Like prohibiting very late abortions unless the life of the mother is threatened?

Since the legality of abortion is not a Constitutional right, should the States have the final say about it?

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1.1  MUVA  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1    2 months ago

Some don’t even want to curtail the amount of abortion.I’m not for banning abortion but would hope in the 21 century there would way less.

 
 
 
devangelical
3.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1    2 months ago

we already have that, check, but it's still not good enough for the life begins at conception crowd. states cannot supersede SCOTUS decisions.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  devangelical @3.1.2    2 months ago

When does life begin, in your opinion? First breath, or at that point in the pregnancy that it can survive outside the womb?

 
 
 
devangelical
3.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1.3    2 months ago

as far as thumpers are concerned, first breath, just like it says in the bible.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  devangelical @3    2 months ago

Sounds like a manifesto! How about all judges acting like judges?

 
 
 
devangelical
3.2.1  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2    2 months ago

only the judges?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.2.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  devangelical @3.2.1    2 months ago

Ya, the topic is judges. It's not really difficult.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.3  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2    2 months ago
Sounds like a manifesto! How about all judges acting like judges?

In what way hasn't Ginsburg acted like a judge? Before you answer that, I suggest you review some of the videos of Thomas' and Scalia's interviews. 

Better yet, I'd love to hear what they said while at the Koch Industries 'seminars'. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.2.4  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Dulay @3.2.3    2 months ago
Before you answer that, I suggest you review some of the videos of Thomas' and Scalia's interviews. 

What does the actions of one judge have to do with the ethics of another?

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.5  Dulay  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2.4    2 months ago
What does the actions of one judge have to do with the ethics of another?

Well gee Vic, since there are NO standing ethics rules for the SCOTUS, NOTHING.

Roberts didn't make a peep when Thomas and Scalia did interviews, participated in neocon seminars, went to political fund raisers or when Thomas failed to report receiving expensive personal gifts from people who were before the court. 

Judging from all of that silence, I'm still wondering in what way you think Ginsburg wasn't acting like a judge.  

 
 
 
It Is ME
4  It Is ME    2 months ago

Sleepy Smurf shoulda done EVERYONE a favor, and retired years ago.

But..… She's "Ideologically SELFISH" !

320

 
 
 
Tacos!
5  Tacos!    2 months ago

I'm going to disagree with Turley, here. I don't have a problem with the justices doing interviews and expressing opinions on the issues of the day, including issues they might soon have before them. Any appellate judge - but particularly the justices of the SCOTUS - will potentially have to rule on the full spectrum of legal and social issues at some point, but you can't use that as an excuse to muzzle them for the rest of their lives.

Silencing RBG won't prevent her from developing opinions on the issues. She's going to have opinions. Might as well get used to it.

For one thing, it's actually useful for litigants. If I am someone who might someday have to argue a case in front of her, I would rather know where she stands. I can then focus an argument that will appeal to her priorities.

Secondly, whether you like the politics of an individual justice or not, they are all smart people who have had a lot of experience considering complex issues. I have had the fortune of hearing some of them speak to groups and appreciated their insight. We can learn from them even if we don't always agree with them.

Ultimately, the duty of any justice will be to set aside their personal beliefs and interpret the law consistent with the requirements of the Constitution. I think they all understand that this is expected of them and I do believe that they try to do that even if they sometimes aren't very good at managing it.

 
 
 
Ender
5.1  Ender  replied to  Tacos! @5    2 months ago

I actually agree with you. A lot of justices go on a speech circuit.

Imo people are allowed to have opinions on things. As long as it doesn't interfere with their work.

 
 
 
Dulay
5.2  Dulay  replied to  Tacos! @5    2 months ago

I would much rather them express their opinions in public than to 'give talks' to partisan groups behind closed doors without transparency. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
5.3  Split Personality  replied to  Tacos! @5    2 months ago

Standard moderating procedure.

 
 
 
Dulay
6  Dulay    2 months ago
In discussing these issues with the BBC’s Razia Iqbal, Ginsburg commented on Trump’s desire for a review of the basis for impeachment.

THAT is a lie. It isn't the question Ginsburg was asked. HERE is what she WAS asked:

"What is your reading of the Constitution in the context of the POTUS saying that the Supreme Court should stop this impeachment?" 

She dismissed the idea and noted “The president is not a lawyer, he’s not law trained.”

Why yes, YES she did and her answer is cogent. As Turley well knows, the SCOTUS has already ruled that they have no jurisdiction over impeachment. 

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.

Note that Turley doesn't cite what case he is talking about nor what 'potential bearing' it may have had. Secondly, stating that Trump isn't a lawyer and is untrained in the law has NO bearing on any case before the court. It's just more of Turley's hyperbole. 

Since this article was written 12/18/2019, Turley's hype is moot now. 

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1  It Is ME  replied to  Dulay @6    2 months ago
As Turley well knows, the SCOTUS has already ruled that they have no jurisdiction over impeachment. 

Who said the "Supreme Court" actually did ?

 
 
 
Ender
7  Ender    2 months ago

Comical when you have the federalist society running things on the right.

 
 
 
lib50
8  lib50    2 months ago

Do you even research before you post?  If you want to start on this, lets go.  And I can't WAIT to start in on Barr.  May not be on SCOTUS, but sure has a lot to answer for. And one day he will.  But this must really put your knickers in a twist.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/01/supreme-court-ethics-problem-elizabeth-warren-opinion-215772

The same morning that Justice Gorsuch gave his speech, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Janus v. AFSCME . This is a case that will determine whether public sector unions—which represent teachers, nurses, firefighters and police in states and cities across the country—can collect fees from all employees in the workplaces they represent. Justice Gorsuch is widely expected to deliver the court’s deciding vote to strip unions of this ability. A decision along these lines would seriously undercut workers’ freedom to have a real voice to speak out and fight for higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions.

Here’s the rub. Justice Gorsuch’s speech at the Trump hotel was hosted by the Fund for American Studies. And who funds the Fund of American Studies? The Charles Koch Foundation and the Bradley Foundation . The Charles Koch Foundation is dedicated to promoting limited government, free markets and weaker unions; and the Bradley Foundation has worked for decades to, in their own words, “reduce the size and power of public sector unions.” In fact, the Bradley Foundation helped pay the litigation expenses for Janus —the case in which Justice Gorsuch is likely to be the deciding vote. Think about that: Just as the ink was drying on the court’s announcement that it would hear Janus , Justice Gorsuch was off to hobnob with some of the biggest supporters for one side of this important case—the side that wants to deny workers the freedom to build a future that doesn’t hang by a thread at the whim of a few billionaires.

This isn’t the first time the Supreme Court has strayed over the ethical line. Take a look, for example, at ABC v. Aereo. The court concluded that Aereo, a small television streaming service, had violated the copyright of broadcasters by capturing signals from television stations and retransmitting programming from those stations to the company’s subscribers. Time Warner—one of the broadcasters who stood to lose if the court allowed the practice— filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the court should side with the broadcaster. At the time, Chief Justice John Roberts owned as much as $500,000 in Time Warner stock. Despite this blatant conflict of interest, Roberts would not recuse himself from the case. Instead, he joined the majority in effectively killing the small streaming service.

There are plenty of other examples of ethical conflicts. According to Fix the Court, a nonpartisan group focused on increasing accountability and transparency on the Supreme Court, Justices Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito owned shares in 53 publicly traded companies as of 2016.
 
 
 
Vic Eldred
8.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  lib50 @8    2 months ago
Do you even research before you post? 

How about you direct your post to somebody?

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
9  Transyferous Rex    2 months ago

I don't agree with her on most things, but I will give her credit. She must be tough as hell. I have no doubts that she is ready to take the robe off for the last time. 

 
 
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