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Ginsberg v. Trump: A War of Words

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

A very public verbal battle emerged between esteemed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The controversy began after Justice Ginsberg made several clearly partisan comments to multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, regarding Trump’s suitability to be president. Ginsberg’s disdain for Trump was evident when she gave the media a point-by-point explanation as to why she believes “he is a faker.” She admitted that she feared for the long-lasting effects of a Trump presidency on the court, as it seems likely that President Obama will be blocked from filling the void left by the death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, subsequently allowing the next president to appoint a new justice.

Trump supporters and legal ethics experts, alike, raised an eyebrow at Ginsberg’s remarks. Legal ethics experts have commented that Ginsberg’s remarks could come back to haunt her should a legal matter involving Trump reach the bench; she would likely have to recuse herself. Trump, in turn, demanded an apology from the justice, classified her behavior as “highly inappropriate” and called for her resignation on Twitter. In response to all of the attention her comments garnered, Ginsberg has done something that is relatively unheard of for a sitting member of the Supreme Court—she issued a statement expressing regret for her actions.

Many Ginsberg supporters have argued that the justice was simply expressing her opinion on a possible future for the court. However, both supporters and detractors of Ginsberg agree that the job of Supreme Court justices is to maintain an outward appearance of neutrality.

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