Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave an interview to CBS News’ Charlie Rose Tuesday in which she said sexism was a “major factor” in Hillary’s 2016 loss.
Asked when she believes a woman will be president, Ginsburg replied, “Well, we came pretty close.” “You think sexism played a role in that campaign?” Charlie Rose asked. Ginsburg replied, “I have no doubt that it did.” At this point, the crowd breaks into applause. They aren’t applauding sexism, of course, they are applauding a Supreme Court Justice siding with Hillary Clinton and therefore implicitly criticizing President Trump. Asked if sexism was decisive in the election, Ginsburg said, “There’s so many things that might have been decisive but that was a major, major factor.”
The rest of the interview appears to follow this pattern, i.e. Charlie Rose pushing Ginsburg for political takes and Ginsburg agreeing to go along without getting too specific. In this next segment, Ginsburg said she was worried our present concern for security might cause us to pull back on liberty. She cites Israel as a place where this concern (for security) is even greater and then mentions Japanese internment as an example of security trampling liberty. For his part, Rose keeps bringing the conversation back to the present, mentioning the building of walls as an example. No one mentions Trump by name but it’s clear that’s what both parties are talking about.
“I’m asking you right now at this time in 2017, in September of 2017, you are genuinely worried that in the interest of security we may be trampling on individual liberties?” Rose asked. “Yes,” Ginsburg replied, “but I am also encouraged by the number of people, especially young people, who don’t want this to happen and are expressing themselves in opposition.” This comes awfully close to an endorsement of the highly partisan resistance.
Again, it’s not hard to see that a liberal Justice is offering liberal opinions on the current administration. Over at the Washington Post, reporter Robert Barnes wrote about the exchange yesterday with nary a word about Ginsburg offering political opinions, except to mention that she apologized for doing something similar prior to the election. Elsewhere in the Post on the same day the same author has a piece headlined, “Gorsuch’s speeches raise questions of independence, critics say.”
Now, as Gorsuch is set next week to begin his first full term on the court, he has accepted an invitation to speak to a conservative legal scholarship group Thursday at Trump International Hotel in Washington. He will be speaking to the Fund for American Studies, a nonprofit education organization that says it teaches “limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership” to students at home and abroad…
“All of this indicates that he’s just ethically tone-deaf,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a Stanford University law professor and highly cited authority on legal ethics.
Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, agreed.
“Whether or not this breaks any explicit ethics rules, it is certainly not the behavior you’d expect from someone trying to ensure the appearance and reality of judicial independence and impartiality,” she said.
There’s no appetite for criticism of Justice Ginsburg’s partisan chat with Charlie Rose, but the Post has space for partisan critics to go after Justice Gorsuch’s speech outside the court. I wonder why the treatment seems so different. It’s a real mystery.