Notorious RBG Gets Snarky

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Obama Administration

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been speaking her mind about Donald Trump.

Here’s a look at what Ginsburg, the 83-year-old justice appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993, said about Trump in three interviews.

One note: The media that did the interviews did not publish transcripts of Ginsburg’s complete remarks. What follows are all of the quotes that were published.

Interview July 7, 2016 with Associated Press

Asked what if Trump won the presidency, Ginsburg said: “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”

Interview July 8, 2016 with New York Times

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.

Referring to something she thought her late husband, tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg, would have said, she said: “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”

Interview July 11, 2016 with CNN

“He is a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that ….

“At first I thought it was funny,” she said of Trump’s early candidacy. “To think that there’s a possibility that he could be president ….

“I think he has gotten so much free publicity ….

“Every other presidential candidate has turned over tax returns.”

Now, all manner of people, including the New York Times editorial board, has the vapors because Supreme Court justices aren’t supposed to say political stuff like that. Trump himself tweeted that “her mind is shot,” which is hilarious coming from him.

Dahlia Lithwick:

There can be no disputing that this conduct was improper under the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, which prohibits judges from endorsing or opposing a candidate for office, and under basic conventions that prohibit judges from overt politicking during election season. We can debate how improper it actually was, but it’s clear she upset the norms that we generally ask judges to respect. And with all due respect, it’s not a legitimate counterargument to claim that it’s OK because Ginsburg is on a lot of tote bags and T-shirts sporting a crown.

The serious arguments in favor of Ginsburg’s conduct are that (1) the nation faces an unparalleled existential threat, at the nomination of a man who imperils the very rule of law and (2) nobody really believes judges are impartial anyhow, so why shouldn’t we celebrate her for ripping off the umpire mask and telling it like it is.

Under the first theory, Ginsburg is correct to expend whatever moral capital she has accrued to say out loud what most politicians are afraid to say, because we are in an extraordinary moment in history, a terrifying period of racism, xenophobia, and violence, and it’s incumbent on even traditionally temperate citizens to speak out. According to this view, the failure to condemn Trump would be its own form of cowardice, and Ginsburg only did what a sane person facing a fascist leader should do. Under the second theory, nobody over age 7 really thinks judges have no political preferences, and it’s better to have them laid bare than hidden under flimsy claims of oracular impartiality.

Like Lithwick, I applaud that first argument. The Trump candidacy shouldn’t be given the dignity of, well, dignity. It’s a joke. He’s a joke.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Ed  •  Jul 13, 2016 @8:43 pm

    If Trump vs. Clinton comes before the Court in a Florida recount, she will need to recuse herself. But if she can open the eyes of others to the danger the Republic would be in if that man made it to the White House, the election may not have to come to that.

  2. Swami  •  Jul 14, 2016 @12:02 am

    If Trump vs. Clinton comes before the Court in a Florida recount, she will need to recuse herself.

    Ed…That’s a big misconception. RBG is a Supreme Court Judge who isn’t bound by the code of conduct for U.S. Judges in any legal sense. The Supreme Court is an autonomous branch of government so she is free to say whatever she feels like saying. And there is no mechanism in place to force a Supreme Court Justice to recuse themselves, they do so out of respect for the appearance of impartiality and respect for their legacy. What’s good about the whole thing is that if Trump thinks he got ripped off if it ever does come down to a Supreme Court decision there is no appeal process other than bellyaching.
    Trump has over a thousand lawsuits under his belt..I bet he’ll never have one titled Trump vs The U.S. Supreme Court.

  3. Dave Empey  •  Jul 14, 2016 @1:11 am

    I’m not sure I’m following you. Do you mean unlike Lithwick you applaud the first argument?

  4. maha  •  Jul 14, 2016 @5:59 am

    Dave, did you read Lithwick? She approved the first argument but rejected the second.

  5. goatherd  •  Jul 14, 2016 @7:22 am

    I found this link via alicublog, it backs up what Swami wrote.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/does-the-supreme-court-need-a-code-of-conduct

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 14, 2016 @9:22 am

    Scalia opined from the bench, and out in public, and few said, “Boo!”

    The SCOTUS basically stopped being able to claim that the judges were apolitical – if the justices ever were – when they decided to give the election to W, instead of Gore.

    Yes, tRUMP’s candidacy is a joke, aw is he – but a very very unfunny one!

  7. Joel Dan Walls  •  Jul 14, 2016 @10:23 am

    Trump’s candidacy is not a joke.

    He’s within a few percentage points of Hillary Clinton in national polls and in important swing states.

    Trump’s candidacy is not a joke. It is a threat to the American republic.

    I guess you keep writing that Trump is a joke, MahaBarbara, because you rightly see that the man is a nut and the atmosphere around his campaign resembles that of a three-ring circus. I guess you keep writing that Trump is a joke because he provides such rich fodder for ridicule. Well guess what? A large number of your fellow citizens don’t give a damn if Trump is a nut because he channels their anger and resentment. They don’t give a damn about the circus atmosphere because they long ago quit trying to actually analyze what’s going on in the world. They like having a neo-fascist telling them that he’ll take care of them and protect them from those monsters under their beds.

    I guess you keep writing that Trump is a joke because it then frees you to focus on your loathing of Hillary Clinton.

  8. maha  •  Jul 14, 2016 @3:37 pm

    Joel Dan Walls — Of course Trump is a threat to the Republic. If you weren’t so bigoted you might have noticed that’s what I’m affirming in this post. And you are tiresome.

  9. Swami  •  Jul 14, 2016 @6:17 pm

    Joel Dan Walls …In the truest sense of the word joke you might be correct but, in viewing Trump’s personality, demeanor, competency, and character there is no other word in the English language to describe him properly aside from calling him a joke in regard to the office that he seeks…Perhaps calling him a big bloated bag of shit might suffice as a descriptor. A blivot?

  10. Swami  •  Jul 14, 2016 @6:17 pm

    Joel Dan Walls …In the truest sense of the word joke you might be correct but, in viewing Trump’s personality, demeanor, competency, and character there is no other word in the English language to describe him properly aside from calling him a joke in regard to the office that he seeks…Perhaps calling him a big bloated bag of shit might suffice as a descriptor. A blivot?

  11. pluky  •  Jul 14, 2016 @7:15 pm

    All the vapors over Justice Ginsburg’s remarks presume she has any f’s to give what other people think. At this stage of her life and career, I seriously doubt it.

    As to the relative obnoxiousness of Hillary vs. The Donald, well . . .

    I’m old enough to have been reading Spy when Graydon Carter brilliantly coined “short-fingered vulgarian.” Laughed then, but am not laughing now. This man must not become president.

    As to Hillary (and her husband, they are a package), I’m cynical enough about human nature in general, and politics in particular, that their level of venality is within the limits of toleration. I’m enough of a Hillbot that I even voted for her against Obama in my state primary in 2008.

    Lurking and occasionally posting on this blog for a while now, I’ve gritted my teeth and kept reading despite the near constant listing of the reasons why “this woman must not be president” over the primary season. As things stand now, I actually welcome the antagonism from the Progressive Left expressed here and other places; what else is going to keep that inherent venality in check should she be elected? Not the Right, they’re in the process of becoming the 21st century Whigs.

  12. goatherd  •  Jul 15, 2016 @8:41 am

    You’ve probably all read this already. I generally like Josh Marshall’s work. I just heard about the truck attack in Nice. This article ties some some events and developments together. It seems evident that there’s a new zeitgeist in town , and it’s not a pretty one.

    I think there is a reason that Trump has taken the tack he has on Brexit. That represents his model. He can stoke resentment, while appearing so ridiculous that the opposition can become over confident. I already have friends who plan to “vote their conscience,” like some Nader supporters did in Florida in the Bush-Gore race. Brexit was a dark horse, that pulled an upset victory.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-is-not-the-natural-state-of-things

  13. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 15, 2016 @11:26 am

    Newt wants to do some form of background-check/loyalty-test for all Muslims in the US.

    Yeah, THAT’LL help!
    It’ll help make the situation worse.

    Which is usually the conservative approach to any and every situation!

    How about a loyalty check on our uber-“Christian” Talibangelicals, who also want a Theocratic state?
    But it’s not a “Caliphate” they want, so I guess it’s ok, right Newt?

  14. Swami  •  Jul 15, 2016 @4:04 pm
  15. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 15, 2016 @9:49 pm

    So, tRUMP, that great manager, botched his VP pick!

    I’d LOL if it wasn’t so unfunny…

  16. moonbat  •  Jul 15, 2016 @10:59 pm

    People also laughed at Hitler and Mussolini. If you see Trump as a threat to the Republic, than that’s what he is, and it is not joke. It’s time to dispense with language like that, which confuses people, because there were people who genuinely regarded Trump (and Hitler and Mussolini) as jokes, when they were anything but.

    I’ve been saying all along this guy could win, and win in a landslide. I don’t want this to be true, but I see it materializing before my very eyes. I have friends who saw this coming years ago, and who will be watching the US elections safely out of the country.

    For whatever reason, “Springtime for Hitler” has been going through my mind today: “And.. now.. It’s.. Springtime for Donald and America”… Someone needs to make that video. I love the John Barrowman version.

  17. goatherd  •  Jul 16, 2016 @8:40 am

    Thanks Moonbat. I didn’t even know that there was a remake of “The Producers.”

    At the risk of seeming too much the delicate flower, one of my right wing friends posted a clip from “The Blaze” the other day. It was about HRC’s “response” to the murders of policemen in Dallas. Basically, it was a clip of HRC “encouraging people to consider” how African Americans feel about events like like the ones the week before. The clip was edited so that we did not hear the question asked of her. So, the clip had no context. At that point, the young woman hosting the segment immediately flew into a tantrum, enraged by the fact that Hillary was “lecturing” about racism. It was an abrasive experience, like being locked in a phone booth with a spoiled brat having a meltdown. (Fortunately, phone booths are uncommon these days.) I guess this is a common occurrence for people with a TV connection.

    We’re all susceptible to confirmation bias, and a lot of other failures. So, I think disagreement can be one way of thinking around our blindspots. But, for the life of me, I can’t see how anyone could believe that this clip had merit, unless their minds were short circuited by a steady diet of propaganda. Under the conditions, I really can’t take their opinions seriously. They weren’t all that bright to begin with, and now, they’er stark raving mad.

    I fear that you could multiply my friends by millions, and that could trip us up. Sometimes, I really do prefer the company of quadrupeds.

  18. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 16, 2016 @9:00 am

    goatherd,
    Poisonous snakes are easier to deal with than their stupid, ignorant, and bigoted, human counterparts!

  19. paradoctor  •  Jul 16, 2016 @5:05 pm

    Regarding point 2: judicial impartiality is of course a fiction, but a polite one, and politically necessary. Candor from a judge is only for civic emergencies; which brings us to point 1, and Trump.

  20. Swami  •  Jul 16, 2016 @11:58 pm

    At that point, the young woman hosting the segment immediately flew into a tantrum, enraged by the fact that Hillary was “lecturing” about racism.

    In Christian parlance it would be said that the racist demon inhabiting that young woman came under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Hence that reaction. Nothing sets them off on a tirade like a confrontation with truth.

  21. Swami  •  Jul 16, 2016 @11:58 pm

    At that point, the young woman hosting the segment immediately flew into a tantrum, enraged by the fact that Hillary was “lecturing” about racism.

    In Christian parlance it would be said that the racist demon inhabiting that young woman came under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Hence that reaction. Nothing sets them off on a tirade like a confrontation with truth.

  22. Bill  •  Jul 17, 2016 @2:39 am

    Of course the Infamous SDO’C did far worse. And at a younger age. Which begs the question: How much does frequent use of wingnut logic hasten senility?

    My evangelical (unconsciously) racist in-law is only in his mid 50’s, yet at family events he’ll suddenly burp out a Fox News one-liner gibberish like a purple minion. It’ll stop all conversation for a second, before talking resumes again trying to ignore that the “BAH!” ever even happened. But I think we’re secretly starting to become concerned. Is there a Dr. Nefario in the house?

  23. Procopius  •  Jul 17, 2016 @6:59 am

    As was noted above, Scalia opined from the bench, accepted favors from people with cases before the court, and announced he was under no obligation to recuse himself because he was capable of determining that he was not influenced. If Scalia said similar things about President Obama nobody would be surprised. He has already made it clear what he thinks. Anybody who thinks a Justice who can write, “Independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption.” is not a blithering idiot should STFU. I am extremely aggrieved that she felt compelled for expressing the truth.

  24. goatherd  •  Jul 18, 2016 @10:35 am

    “Nothing sets them off on a tirade like a confrontation with truth.”

    I regret to say, I’ve been there myself, but, mostly in the hormonal and emotional stew of my (much) younger days.

    I saw an interesting article about racism the other day. The woman who wrote it made several useful points, but one that has stayed with me more than the rest is that Racism is not a binary situation. That is, a person is not either racist or not racist, but somewhere on a continuum. This is obvious to anyone who has thought about it at all. But, somehow we tend to ignore that, especially when it comes to ourselves. Maybe, we succumb to a need to view ourselves as exceptional in some way. So, it makes any real discussion impossible. If someone points out that something I have done or said is racist, I see that as someone saying, “You’re a racist.” Naturally, I want to avoid that diagnosis, and it would make me mad. But, somewhere and sometime, I might reflect back on the observation and realize that they are correct.

    The right wing friends I wrote about are also fundamentalist Christians. They post (FB) the offensive and gratuitously vicious material. This still strikes me as strange, but no longer surprising. It’s also ironic, because the notion of being “born again” presupposes a capability, at least at one point in time, for self examination and reflection. But, that attribute is fleeting if not absent in most of us.

    Too bad someone can’t clearly and effectively say, “Say, Dude, you are about 89% non-racist, but, let’s look at that other 11%. You might be able to work through some of that.” … Well, on second thought, they can say it, most of us don’t HEAR it that way.

    I had a Muslim room mate many years ago. I was just getting into Buddhism at the time, but, I think he was one of my mentors despite our differences. I remember him quoting his scripture one day, – “There are ten thousand veils of light and darkness between us and the truth.” That has always struck me as a valuable insight, along with the fact that the “veils of light” are probably more difficult to penetrate than the veils of darkness. We no longer seek the truth, if we believe that we have already found it; we hate to give up what we once saw as reliable truth for something unknown.

    I know this seems widely off topic, but, it’s part of the dynamic of our division, part of the reason why nearly half of us seem stark raving mad.

  25. grannyeagle  •  Jul 18, 2016 @12:33 pm

    Goatherd: Your comment got me to thinking about racism and what it is exactly. To me, it is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as they distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. (I found this definition on Google). If someone feels that way, it is not a continuum. What I think happens is that we grow up in a certain culture and we become so comfortable that we want no changes and are uncomfortable with others with different habits. Throw in fear, anger, greed, desire for power and low self-esteem and there is conflict. I admit, it is hard for me to accept that people come here illegally, refuse to accept our culture but want us to adjust their culture habits and then label us racists. An example is those that refuse to learn English but want us to learn Spanish so they can communicate. I do not consider that racism. Of course, there is fear on their part also.
    I once had a conversation with a woman from Mexico who did speak English but said she preferred Spanish because she didn’t want to give up her heritage. I wanted to say, “If you are Mexican and speak Spanish, you have already lost your heritage.” But I kept still.
    I grew up in the 40s in Indianapolis where there was segregation. I heard all the stories about black people being different, etc. Since I was not around blacks, I really didn’t know what to think but I do remember I never thought I was superior simply because of the color of my skin. What did motivate me was fear. There was one black boy in my school and one day he said hello to me. I was surprised but was afraid to be friendly with him because of what other people would say. This is how we teach children racism. My parents never spoke about blacks in a negative way. They did not use the “n” word but instead called them colored. After I got married and once made a positive comment about a black man, my husband called me a n….. lover. That really hurt but I said nothing.
    Although my thoughts and behavior may be interpreted as racism, I deny it. To me, we are all children of Mr./Mrs. God. We are different but that’s okay. Is a rose superior to a petunia?

  26. Bill  •  Jul 18, 2016 @12:36 pm

    goatherd’s comment got me thinking. IMO the unconscious mind is smarter than the conscious one. I’ve seen people do some pretty devious things without consciously knowing it.

    The in-law is highly materialistic and demonstrates latency issues. Additionally, he has been able to work (charm) himself into a position of authority beyond his natural capacity.

    Assuming my perceptions are correct, the materialism flies directly in the face of Jesus, the homosexual impulses contradicts conservative culture, the incompetency is not very “reap what you sow”. And then he also has powerful tribal needs.

    It may be safe to assume the “BAH!” episodes reflects his unconscious needs/impulses to divert attention away from these imperfections which would ruin his tribal standing.



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