Another day, another Twitter attack for presidential nominee Donald Trump. This time, Trump is taking on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, attacking her for her comments that if Trump wins the election in November, there could be long-standing repercussions for the Supreme Court that she doesn’t want to contemplate. Justice Ginsburg also joked that if Trump wins “it’s time to move to New Zealand”. Naturally, the Republican nominee didn’t back down and went on Twitter attacking her, saying her “mind is shot.”
Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot – resign!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 13, 2016
As the Washington Post and other media outlets have pointed out, it may not have been the best idea for Justice Ginsburg to weigh in on a political candidate, but she has never been one to pull punches. The situation started when Ginsburg gave an interview to the New York Times, where she spoke about the Senate’s refusal to act on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland. She endorsed Garland and lamented about what could happen to the Supreme Court if Donald Trump wins the election in November.
About Garland, she said, “I think he is about as well qualified as any nominee to this court. Super bright and very nice, very easy to deal with. And super prepared. He would be a great colleague.”
Ginsburg went on to say that the “best case” scenario, even if Garland is confirmed right after the election in November, is that the Supreme Court will be one justice down for the majority of the next term. The term starts in October, which would mean that Garland would miss the arguments that will take place for next term’s cases and therefore would be unable to weigh in on them. When asked about her own future on the Court, Ginsburg stated that she would continue to serve as long as she can do it with “full steam.” She also pointed out that Justices Kennedy and Breyer are getting up there in age as well.
The majority of Ginsburg’s interview was about decisions the Court made this term, but the part getting the most attention are her comments about Donald Trump. Typically, Supreme Court Justices refrain from entering the political landscape, but Ginsburg is not your typical Justice. On Monday, Justice Ginsburg refused to back away from her criticism of Trump, and in an interview with CNN’s Joan Biskupic, she called the Republican nominee a “fake” and said she was surprised the media wasn’t pressing him more about his tax returns.
In response to her comments, Donald Trump told the New York Times that Justice Ginsburg’s comments were “highly inappropriate” and suggested that she should step down from the Court sooner rather than later. Trump also said that she should apologize to the Court.
“I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly. I think it’s a disgrace to the court, and I think she should apologize to the court. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”
As the NYT points out, while there is no specific rule that a Justice must refrain from commenting on politics, Ginsburg’s comments could provide Donald Trump with ammunition to attack the Court and specifically to state that she is unable to treat him fairly. As Trump himself stated, comments like the ones Ginsburg made only serve to energize his base, so she is only giving him more fuel to use in the election.
Of course, this is not the first time the Republican nominee has attacked a judge. Despite the fact that his own sister is a judge, Donald Trump has not been shy in his criticism of courts. His attacks on the heritage of the judge handling his Trump University lawsuit saw his numbers go steadily down and support from many in the Republican party begin to dwindle. With the popularity of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is sometimes referred to as “Notorious RBG,” time will tell if this latest attack works against him or if Trump is right and it serves to energize his base.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]