“Her mind is shot.”
That was the crisp diagnosis of Donald Trump on hearing the opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the possibility he might become president.
It all began with an interview last week when the justice was asked for her thoughts on a Trump presidency. Ginsburg went on a tear.
“I can’t imagine what this place [the Supreme Court] 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.”
Yet she had contemplated the horror of it all, as she quoted her late husband as saying of such a catastrophe, “It’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”
This week, Ginsburg doubled down.
“Trump is a faker,” she vented in chambers on Monday, “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head. … 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.”
Sounding like Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ginsburg attacked the Senate for not voting on Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“That’s their job. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”
True, your honor, but there is also nothing in the Constitution that says the Senate must vote expeditiously, or at all.
Ginsburg hailed Justice Anthony Kennedy as “the great hero of this term” for his votes upholding abortion rights and affirmative action.
“Think what would have happened had Justice Scalia remained with us,” she added, which comes close to saying the death of the great jurist was not entirely unwelcome to the leading liberal on the court.
“I’d love to see Citizens United overruled,” Ginsburg volunteered, which gives us a pretty good idea how she will vote when that question comes before the court again.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, under Section 28 US Code 455, “Any justice, judge or magistrate judge of the United States must disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Since “himself” and “his” refer to men, perhaps Ginsburg does not think the rules apply to her.
The federal code of judicial conduct for U.S. judges, says the Chicago Tribune, states that a “judge should not … publicly endorse a candidate for public office.”
But does not Ginsburg’s relentless trashing of Trump constitute a political attack on him, to help his opponent Hillary Clinton?
Ginsburg “should resign from the Court before she does the reputation of the judiciary more harm,” says the Journal.
There is a precedent. Justice Abe Fortas resigned in 1969 in a scandal when his ties to a convicted swindler became known.
But a dissent here. Why should Ginsburg resign? Did anyone doubt she held these views? Did she hide her radical liberalism from the Senate that confirmed her 96-3 in 1993, with only three Republicans dissenting, led by the venerable Jesse Helms?
Ginsburg was an ACLU lawyer and feminist-activist when she was named to the appellate court by Jimmy Carter. Her views were no secret to anyone when the Senate confirmed her.
Let us not pretend we did not know. Thus, why should she step down for airing political and ideological views everyone knew she held?
Liberal angst is understandable. Ginsburg is giving away the game.
How can liberals credibly uphold the pretense that Supreme Court decisions, where the left is the majority, represent judgments based on the Constitution, when Ginsburg, the leading leftist, has revealed herself to be a rabid partisan who can’t wait to use her judicial power to impose her ideology upon the United States?
Ginsburg detests Trump. She wants to kill super PACs. She thinks discrimination against white males is fine if it advances diversity. She thinks Republican senators are blockheads who do not know their duties.
She thinks the death penalty is barbaric, and that abortion on demand and same-sex marriage are progressive. She is waiting for a case to come before her so she can restrict gun rights.
In a democratic republic, she has a right to hold and air these views.
But a democratic republic no longer exists when justices of the mindset of Ginsburg, who have never been elected, but serve for life, can impose these views, anti-democratically, upon the country.
Since the Earl Warren era, the Supreme Court has usurped the legislative power and imposed social policies, and Congress, which has the power under Article III to shackle the Ruth Bader Ginsburgs and restrict the court’s jurisdiction, has lacked the courage to do so.
This is the problem, not Ginsburg. She does what leftist ideologues do. The problem is elsewhere.
Pogo said it best, “We have met the enemy—and he is us.”
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.