Ginsburg's public Trump critique raises ethical quandaries

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turned heads earlier this week when she spoke out against Donald Trump in an interview with CNN. Trump has a slight edge over Hillary Clinton in Florida and in Pennsylvania. To The New York Times, Ginsburg 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".

The following day, Ginsburg echoed those comments to the New York Times.

"Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me".

Others applauded Ginsburg for speaking her mind. She's called him a fake!

"That's their job", she said. "On the other hand, she's reached a point in her life that she ought to say whatever she wants to".

Don't ever get it twisted: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a treasure on the Supreme Court and anyone who cares about civil rights for anyone should be thankful she exists.

"This is nothing casual", said Arthur D. Hellman, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. "The aim, I suppose, is to influence the election".

Gillers was referring to 28 U.S. Code 455 that says "Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned".

Trump has insisted he will appoint right-wing conservatives to the high court if he is elected president.

"I'd rather Ginsburg be honest about the Court's political nature than pretend otherwise - in no small part because the illusion of a non-political Court reduces public pressure that could help make it less political, " he said.

The Speaker also responded to the Ginsburg comments. She even said that she would move to New Zealand if Trump won.

Ginsburg's comments do not warrant that. And the Justice ain't holding back her opinion of The Donald.

But in the long history of the precedent-bound Supreme Court, that has never happened, he said.

"An administration is constantly before the court", Lubet said. "The court will not review it". It would be a stretch to suggest that anything she has said is as controversial as what Ginsburg's close friend the late Justice Antonin Scalia said in reply to a 2012 question about why he would compare laws banning homosexuality to laws against murder: "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?" "She must know that she shouldn't be".

While it's the expectation these days that judges keep their political views private, Supreme Court members haven't always been divorced from partisan activities.

Justice William Douglas regularly played cards with FDR. Justice Abe Fortas continued secretly advising President Lyndon Johnson after he put Fortas on the court in 1965.

Later, Ginsburg, at 83 the oldest justice, told the CNN television network, "He is a faker". Indeed, the party's immediate former nominee for president, Mitt Romney, says the 2016 Republican contender's refusal to release his returns is "disqualifying".

Some Democrats have spoken out, criticizing Ginsburg for her comments.

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