Government & Politics

Ginsburg Crosses the Line

The justice's comments about Trump were wildly inappropriate.

Louis DeBroux · Jul. 13, 2016

“The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.” —Joseph Story (U.S. Supreme Court Justice, called the “Father of American Jurisprudence”), 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution

We suppose we can finally abandon any pretense that the judiciary is still a neutral body rendering opinions based on an impartial interpretation of the Constitution as written. Rather, the judiciary, and especially the Supreme Court, has become a supra-legislative oligarchy of nine (or eight, for the time being) that imposes its own version of morality and “social justice” upon the roughly 315 million Americans who are expected to abide by its diktats.

One particular recent example tells us all we need to know in this regard — the recent political-stump utterance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This isn’t entirely new ground for Ginsburg, though. She is known affectionately to her legions of leftist lemmings as “the Notorious RBG” (a take-off on the moniker of slain rapper The Notorious BIG), for her unrestrained tendency to speak openly about her personal feelings regarding matters involving the Court.

But this time, she has exceeded all previous boundaries of decorum and propriety.

Speaking in an interview with the New York Times, the official daily newspaper of the Democrat Party, Ginsberg, asked about the possibility of a Trump presidency, said, “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.” She then chuckled at the thought of what her late husband would have said: “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”

Questioned about this later, she went back to the well. “At first I thought it was funny,” she said of Trump’s candidacy. “To think that there’s a possibility that he could be president…” she trailed off.

Such remarks are well beyond inappropriate for a sitting justice. Edward Whelan III, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, called her comments indefensible, stating, “I think this exceeds the others in terms of her indiscretions. … I am not aware of any justice ever expressing views on the merits or demerits of a presidential candidate in the midst of the campaign. … [T]he soundness or unsoundness of her concerns about Donald Trump has no bearing on whether it was proper for her to say what she said.”

According to Stetson University law professor Louis J. Virelli, there could be serious consequences for such outbursts. “[P]ublic 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,” Virelli mused. “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.”

Not that Ginsburg or the other members of the Court’s leftist bloc would have the decency to recuse themselves in such cases. Both Justice Ginsburg (a former lawyer for the ACLU) and Justice Elena Kagan refused to recuse themselves in the same-sex “marriage” cases that came before the Court in the last few years, despite having already performed multiple same-sex wedding ceremonies when such were still a violation of federal law. In fact, Ginsburg was so arrogant and shameless that she performed one of these ceremonies in the chambers of the Supreme Court itself.

There is a major double-standard when it comes to such statements by members of the Court. During Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address, cameras caught Justice Samuel Alito mouthing the words “not true” in response to Obama’s unseemly and unprecedented attacks on the Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. Liberals called Alito “nasty” and “churlish” for this supposed breach of decorum, but these same liberals are positively giddy when leftist justices offer up far more blatant political commentary, as has Ginsburg.

These realities again underscore the urgency of denying another leftist Democrat the opportunity to shape the direction of the Court for the next 30 years or more. With the death of stalwart originalist Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most brilliant, effective and honorable justices in the history of the Supreme Court, the next president will be able to name his successor (if the GOP Senate holds the line against Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland). Add to that the fact that Justice Ginsburg (83), Justice Kennedy (79), Justice Breyer (77) and Justice Thomas (68) are closer to the end of their tenure than their beginning, and the next president may be able to appoint as many as five new justices to the Court.

Such an opportunity could strengthen the Court’s conservative/originalist wing, or permanently cement the leftist vision of a malleable, “living” constitution, with constitutional protections of individual liberty, and the tempering effect of a separation of powers between the branches, forever lost.

No pressure … right?

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