She, like other Americans, is constitutionally free to publicly express views on any topics – other than on cases before the High Court or under consideration.
At the same time, expressing them for or against political candidates isn’t the remit of judiciary branch members – especially for the nation’s highest office while campaigning is ongoing.
In a July 10 NYT interview, Ginsburg overstepped, tacitly endorsing Clinton, saying “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.”
Reminded of what her late husband might have said, she added “(n)ow it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.” At age 83, she indicated she’ll remain on the High Court “as long as (she) can do it full steam.”
In an earlier AP interview on a possible Trump victory, she said “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”
In a Monday CNN interview, she called Trump “a faker (with) no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.”
In response, Trump tweeted “Justice Ginsburg…embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot – resign.”
“I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,” he told the NYT. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”
On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “(f)or someone on the Supreme Court who is going to be calling balls and strikes in the future based upon what the next president and Congress do, that strikes me as inherently biased and out of the realm.”
National Constitution Center’s Lyle Denniston said he’s “not aware of any justice ever expressing views on the merits or demerits of a presidential candidate in the midst of the campaign.”
He’s “not a fan of Donald Trump’s at all. But the soundness of (Ginsburg’s) concerns about (him) has no bearing on whether it was proper for her to say what she said.”
At best, her comments were politically incorrect – at worst unethical. When High Court justices enter the political fray, it makes a greater mockery of so-called separation of powers than already.
Ginsburg should stick to her remit and stay clear from partisan politics – an arena where she doesn’t belong.