U.S. Supreme Court

Ginsburg says she regrets statements on Trump

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a statement on Thursday expressing regret for her critical statements about Donald Trump.

“On reflection,” Ginsburg said, “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.” The Washington Post and the New York Times published the statement.

Trump had called for Ginsburg’s resignation after she criticized him in interviews with the New York Times and CNN.

“Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot—resign!” Trump said in a tweet.

Ginsburg spoke with the New York Times in a story published on Sunday. “I can’t imagine what this place would be—I can’t imagine what the country would be—with Donald Trump as our president,” she told the Times. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be—I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

She didn’t retreat from her comments in an interview with CNN on Monday. “He is a faker,” Ginsburg said of Trump. “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”

Supreme Court justices aren’t bound by the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. But several legal experts said she should have followed its ban on publicly endorsing or opposing a candidate for public office, which applies to other federal judges. Some suggested her comments would invite calls for her recusal in cases involving Donald Trump or his administration, if he is elected.

Other experts, however, said Ginsburg was justified in her comments. Among them is University of California at Irvine law dean Erwin Chemerinsky. “I think it is valuable for people to hear what the justices have to say on important issues,” he wrote in a column for the New York Times. “As a lawyer and as a citizen, I’d always rather know what justices and judges think rather than have enforced silence and pretend they have no views. We are in a relatively new era of public statements by justices, and I applaud it.”

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