Ruth Bader Ginsburg called Donald Trump a faker and hinted he was a tax fraud, and then apologized. While it is up to Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, to accept or reject her remorse, there is much more to the story than was reported.
Details of her shocking, three-day diatribe reveal enough about the aging justice that several mainstream newspapers have editorialized for her resignation. But for her statements alone against Trump, she would be forced to recuse herself from so many cases that could come before her.
Ginsburg, considered the leader of the court’s liberal wing, told The New York Times that she “can’t imagine what the country would be with Donald Trump as our president,” suggesting she would move to New Zealand (New Zealand?) if he won. What if the election ended in a cliffhanger and the 2000 Bush v. Gore would be reprised before the Supreme Court? How would she act then?
But she said so much more in a series of interviews. In a violation of judicial norms, she scolded the Senate for not setting confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. “That’s their job,” she said. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”
There’s also nothing in the Constitution — actually, there is something in the Constitution allowing the Senate to confirm a nominee, reject the choice, or not bring him to a vote.
Nominally one of the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s closest friends, Ginsburg allowed herself to gloat about his sudden passing in February. The conservative judge would have certainly knocked down Obama’s immigration law and a law allowing public unions to force workers to pay dues. “Think what would have happened had Justice Scalia remained with us,” she said.
She went further, declaring how she would vote on a future case. “I’d love to see Citizens United overruled,” she said, referring to the 2010 case that restored the First Amendment right of unions and corporations to support a political candidate. She had this to say about a Supreme Court ruling upholding the rights of gun holders: “I thought Heller was a very bad decision,” adding that she hoped the case would come back on the docket so it could be overturned.
Ginsburg has issued a stream of rulings since she was chosen by President Bill Clinton two decades ago to serve on the high court, which makes one question her values. She is a reliable vote for everything insane and immoral in this country. That’s not an impeachable offense; there are millions of people who agree with her on those positions.
But her volleys of hate this past week call into question her fitness to remain in office. She has denigrated the hallowed halls of justice, from which cameras are banned so as to preserve the “unknown” about them. All decisions handed down by the court with her signature will forever be tainted by the possibility that — who knows? — perhaps her bias against Republicans, or some Republicans, got in the way.