Ginsburg’s non-apology for her rant against Trump

By Dave Andrusko

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ask yourself why pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might throw even a pretense of judicial impartiality to the wind and publicly hammer presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump as a “faker” whose election would cause her to fear for the future of the country and the High Court and (tongue-in-cheek) consider moving to New Zealand? (An aside. The Supreme Court press office put out one of those non-apology apologies from Ginsburg this morning. More about that below.)

Here are a couple of reasons. One (from Joan Biskupic, CNN Legal Analyst, Supreme Court Biographer, and a huge admirer of Ginsburg)

Ginsburg was appointed to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and is now the senior member of the liberal wing and leading voice countering conservative Chief Justice Roberts. She has drawn a cult-like following among young people who have nicknamed her The Notorious R.B.G., a play on American rapper The Notorious B.I.G.

Ginsburg is just sooooooo cool. What else, besides the obvious–that the mainstream media never misses the chance to clobber a Republican presidential nominee?

Ginsburg probably learned the lesson that if you step over the line and receive nothing but praise, you can erase the line and still be the media darling. But this time Ginsburg did go too far. Not, of course, that she is going to resign, as Mr. Trump demanded, or at least apologize.

The best Ginsburg could summon up was

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

Why the “regret”? The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake had asked around and while many of the usual suspects toed-the-line (her comments were “classic” Ginsburg, to quote Biskupic), others demurred.

“I find it baffling actually that she says these things,” said Arthur Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “She must know that she shouldn’t be. However tempted she might be, she shouldn’t be doing it.”

Blake also interviewed Louis Virelli is a Stetson University law professor who just wrote a book titled “Disqualifying the High Court” on Supreme Court recusals. He said that

“public comments like the ones that Justice Ginsburg made could be seen as grounds for her to recuse herself from cases involving a future Trump administration. I don’t necessarily think she would be required to do that, and I certainly don’t believe that she would in every instance, but it could invite challenges to her impartiality based on her public comments.”

Editorials were generally critical, even harsh.

The Wall Street Journal wrote she “should resign from the Court before she does the reputation of the judiciary more harm.”

Not surprisingly the Washington Post agreed with Ginsburg’s sentiments–“ Nor were any of Justice Ginsburg’s disparaging comments about the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, untrue”–they grudgingly conceded she’d erred:

However valid her comments may have been, though, and however in keeping with her known political bent, they were still much, much better left unsaid by a member of the Supreme Court.

Under the headline, “Ginsburg’s blooperUSA Today deftly began its critique with

If, as Chief Justice John Roberts famously said, the job of a Supreme Court justice is to be an “umpire” calling balls and strikes, then Ruth Bader Ginsburg whiffed big time by publicly criticizing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

It’s as if Ginsburg declared herself a huge National League fan, and trashed the American League, before umpiring this week’s All-Star game. Fans would have questioned her calls, and they would have been right.

Amazing, the headline on the New York Times editorial was, “Mr. Trump is right about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”  Here are just the first two sentences:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling.

Three times in the past week, Justice Ginsburg has publicly discussed her view of the presidential race, in the sharpest terms.

To complete the thought, Ginsburg responded with the absolute minimal expression of contrition. There is no reason to believe (as the Washington Post described her)“ A lifelong left-of-center lawyer and feminist innovator who was appointed to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the 83-year-old Justice Ginsburg fits the profile of a Hillary Clinton supporter to a T.” is going to button her lip.

The media loves her and rapped her oh-so-gently on the knuckles for an egregious lapse in judicial decorum. The only lesson she was learned was to save her most blatant biases for her politics-ridden judicial opinions.