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Justice Ginsburg Walks Back Comments About Donald Trump

"Should never have said" she would move to Canada if he were elected.


July 15, 2016

In three separate interviews with news organizations since last week, Ginsburg criticized Trump, calling him a "faker" and saying she feared for the country and the Supreme Court if he were elected.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walked back a bit today from her disparaging remarks about Donald Trump. The 83 year old said she should not have commented on the Republican presidential nominee and that she regrets her statements.

In three separate interviews with news organizations in one week, Ginsburg criticized Trump, calling him a "faker" and saying she feared for the nation or for the Supreme Court if he were elected.

Those comments brought criticism and questions over judicial ethics even from Democrats, who said Supreme Court justices should not insert themselves into the elections. The judicial ethics code that binds lower court judges - but not Supreme Court justices - forbids judges from endorsing or speaking about candidates

In a statement issued Thursday by the court's public information office, Ginsburg seemed to agree with the criticism, although she did not offer an apology to Trump, who had requested one.

The Notorious RBG isn't backing down from her negative comments about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and now he's calling for her resignation from the Supreme Court. Here's a quick rundown of what the two have said. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

"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."

Last week, Ginsburg publicly slammed Trump and what his possible presidency would mean for the court.

"I can't imagine what this place would be - I can't imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president," Ginsburg told the New York Times. "For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be - I don't even want to contemplate that."

She made similar comments to the Associated Press. On Monday during a CNN interview, Ginsburg called Trump a "faker" and said she was surprised that the media has not pressed him more to release his tax returns.

Trump quickly fired back, saying in a tweet that the 83-year-old justice should resign and that her mind was "shot."

The court - now at eight members after the death of Antonin Scalia in February - is a major issue in the presidential race, with both Republicans and Democrats saying the appointment of the next justice could have a significant impact on future rulings.

There was little precedent for Ginsburg's comments.

Then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was criticized by some in 2000 after Newsweek quoted her as saying, "This is terrible," at an election-night watch party after Florida was prematurely called for Al Gore. Some argued that she should have recused herself from the ensuing Bush v. Gore case before the Supreme Court.


Reader Comments

DJ17 writes:

An apology is not enough. Let's say that you are being sued and the judge deciding your case tells reporters that she finds your manners offensive. What would your chances be of getting a fair trial? Not good which is why judges and referees are supposed to be impartial no matter how they actually feel. What Ginsburg did was worse - she interfered in a public election (that may well find its way to the USSC) and expressed regrets only after more damage was done. She can be impeached for her statements which is why many of us think she should resign.


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