While I’m in agreement with the substance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s criticisms of Donald Trump, I don’t think it’s her place to publicly express such views.
Despite Trump’s calls for her resignation, Ginsburg isn’t going anywhere until she decides to go or if God comes calling. If Trump is elected then the Supreme Court will invariably hear cases brought against his administration. In light of Ginsburg’s comments, the Solicitor General could certainly ask that Ginsburg recuse herself from such cases based on a predisposition of bias against Trump. Indeed, if Judge Curiel of the Trump University case had made such comments about Trump then he would certainly have cause to call for his recusal. Of course, in the case of Curiel, only the judge’s Mexican heritage matters to Trump, not the content of his judicial character.
Naturally Trump has everything to gain from feuding with a liberal justice like Ginsburg. With the Republican National Convention taking place next week, it will very likely rally a lot of Republicans who have reservations about him to his corner. Not that Trump would reward this support with the appointment of a conservative jurist so caveat emptor.
However inappropriate Ginsburg’s comments are, let’s be honest with ourselves. Conservatives were delighted (myself included)when Samuel Alito visibly shook his head and said no when President Obama upbraided the Supremes over the Citizens United decision at the 2010 State of the Union address a few years back. Alito has also made a point of never attending another Obama SOTU since.
Granted, Alito’s displeasure with Obama is far more subtle than Ginsburg’s assailment of Trump. But if Alito had said about Obama or for that matter Hillary what Ginsburg said about Trump, conservatives everywhere would be saying, “Right on!!!” As Michael Barone says, “All process arguments are insincere.”