[Editor’s Note: For those of you who have not been following the brouhaha over Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments concerning the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, here’s a review from Washington (CNN) followed by line of comments. This material is used with the permission of Daily Kos. Readers are invited to go to: Daily Kos.com for a complete list of comments, explanatory, argumentive and otherwise.]
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn’t going to let the vapors of the traditional media over her comments about Donald Trump make her stop talking.
Washington (CNN)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s well-known candor was on display in her chambers late Monday, when she declined to retreat from her earlier criticism of Donald Trump and even elaborated on it.”He is a faker,” she said of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief. “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.”Trump is, of course, tweeting his outrage, which pretty much proves her point. Chances are she’s not going to let that get to her, either.COMMENT
Chief Justice Roberts has — just about sotto voce — said they do [have a code of ethics on the Supreme Court]. But it’s never been examined and ruled on by the “supremes” themselves. Who else would have the authority to do that? In fact, historically supremes have run for public office while serving. Surely no one believes they said nothing negative about their opponents? And that’s only one of the issues one can envision falling under a code of ethics. John Jay was Chief Justice when he ran for the governorship of New York — twice (lost the first time).
Then you have people like Scalia and Thomas heading up fundraisers for right-wing groups. in those cases, their value certainly was tied to their role as supremes. No disciplinary action, not even a word of reproof from colleagues. Supreme means supreme, and over the years no one has taken more advantage of that than the right wing of the court. Time for a liberal to speak up in the face of a candidate like sleazy Don and also time for liberals to stop supporting a false idea of the supremes that has only helped the wingnuts.
They don’t. Of course, who would enforce such rules on the Supreme Court if they wanted to ignore them? Hence, such rules wouldn’t make sense at that level.
However, I believe there is an implication and assumption that judges on the highest court of the land should adhere to the same ethical guidelines that the most junior judge in the Federal system is expected to adhere to unless there is an extraordinary compelling reason to do otherwise (and, intentionally and publicly spouting personal opinions about those who you may later hear a case about is NOT one of those cases — Ginsburg opinion on Trump is no more significant than mine — we both get one vote against him).
The judge who Trump viciously attacked has followed judicial ethics and kept his mouth shut in response to those attacks. I would expect a Supreme Court justice who Trump really hadn’t specifically attacked to be at least as ethical.
Remember, judges are supposed to avoid even the appearance of bias. Ginsburg can no longer do this with respect to Trump.
If we ended up in a Bush v. Gore type situation in this election, she would clearly be expected to recuse herself. Of course, she might not do so as she may not care what her legacy is.
In such a case, she would really be in a no-win situation. If she recused herself and it resulted in a narrow decision (perhaps 4-3) for Trump, she will rightfully go down in history as being the Justice who was too childish to accept the responsibility of being an active Supreme Court Justice and did something stupid that required her to recuse herself and throw the election to Trump. If she didn’t recuse herself and her vote was the deciding factor (perhaps 4-4 so lower court ruling that favored Clinton stands), history would appropriately question if the Supreme Court was a legitimate body due to her actions.
Sorry, you take a job, you take the constraints with it.
I think you should read the article at politico about how “constrained” by ethics the supremes have not been. Not going to link to it again. It’s on the front page at politico and easily found. Really, we all need to stop pontificating without facts in hand and keep in mind that RBG has been around long enough to know exactly what has gone on on the court. she’s not some dipsy broad whose mind has gone, as sleazy Donald would like to portray her. There are serious issues at stake for the country and she’s playing her cards: supreme trumps hate.
Those rules? They do exist — but on paper they only exist for the lower Courts.
There is only ONE singular regulation on Supreme Court Justices from the Constitution:
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
US Code contains constraints on lower court Judges. But for the Supremes? That one rule is all there is.
Since it’s a subjective rule, it can mean whatever you think it means.
”Shall hold their office during good behavior.”