As Ed noted earlier today, Justice Ginsburg’s statements about Donald Trump are so out of line that the NY Times titled its editorial on the matter, “Donald Trump is right about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” The Times’ editorial concludes, “Washington is more than partisan enough without the spectacle of a Supreme Court justice flinging herself into the mosh pit.”
Wednesday afternoon the Wall Street Journal joined the Times in suggesting that Ginsburg had crossed a line. But where the Times only seemed to be calling on Ginsburg to dial it back a notch, the Journal suggests that maybe Ginsburg’s fellow Justices need to stage an intervention and let her know she is no longer fit to remain on the Court:
The more we think about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent public outbursts, the more we wonder if the 83-year-old Justice can still perform her duties on the Supreme Court. Her fellow Justices need to stage an intervention and suggest that she make way for someone who knows how a judge is supposed to behave.
We say this more in sadness than anger; Justice Ginsburg would never have talked this way 20 years ago and there’s no joy in seeing a reputation implode. She’d also probably be replaced by another, much younger progressive. But as she indulges her inner Bernie Sanders in public, she is hurting the reputation of the Court and setting a terrible example for other judges.
The Journal then offers a list of recent “verbal eruptions” in which Ginsburg has spoke on politically tinged issues such as the confirmation of Merrick Garland or her desire to overturn the Citizens United decision which could come before the Court again in the future. The Journal concludes:
Justice Ginsburg talks as if the Court is a purely political body and seems oblivious to the damage she is doing. All of this raises questions about her judgment, her temperament, and her continuing capacity to serve as a judge. She should resign from the Court before she does the reputation of the judiciary more harm.
No one is really surprised that Ginsburg is a progressive. Her voting record would demonstrate that. But attacking a major party candidate and effectively endorsing his opponent is apparently something new for a sitting Justice, as the Washington Post points out today:
I’ll say at the top what I’ve said before: It’s hard if not impossible to find a direct analog to what Ginsburg has said in recent days. Supreme Court experts I’ve spoken to were unaware of any justices getting so directly and vocally involved — or involved at all, really — in a presidential campaign.
Conspicuously silent about all this so far: President Obama. The White House spokesman laughed off Ginsburg’s comments but, so far as I can tell, President Obama has not spoken about it directly.