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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Regrets Anti-Trump Comments

15 July 2016

Joining a chorus of critics, Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Gaetan Alfano said Friday that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg erred when she publicly disparaged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Promising to be more discreet in the future, the leader of the court's liberal wing said in a statement that judges should not comment on candidates for any public office.

"On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them", Ginsburg said.

Trump jumped into the fray on Wednesday.

Trump responded in his usual unpresidential way, tweeting: "Justice Ginsburg has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me". In the past, Ginsburg has brushed aside calls for her to resign from the Court, including those that called on her to step aside sometime in the last two years or so in order to give President Obama a chance to fill her seat with someone who mirrors her judicial philosophy rather than risk the possibility that a Republican President would be the one who gets to do that.

"She oughta stay out of it", said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia's February 13 death remains unfilled, and Ginsburg will be one of three justices 78 or older on Election Day. I will never forget watching her argue in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of a man who had been convicted of first-degree murder by a jury from which women had been excluded. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done just that and generated a shameful political scandal of behemoth proportions. She went on, "I can't imagine what this place would be - I can't imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president". Most spent years before they became judges in jobs that identified them as Democrats or Republicans.

Ginsburg's remarks to CNN as well as to the Associated Press and The New York Times created a highly unusual week at the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts worked in the White House counsel's office during the Reagan administration. It's not a slow news week and yet, believe it or not, the media is full of opinions from supposed experts as to whether Justice Ginsburg would have to recuse herself. Having made these comments, is she no longer qualified to serve on the panel in the one-in-a-million chance that the November election ends up in the Supreme Court?

"Partisan statements can undermine the public's confidence that a judge will decide cases on the merits as opposed to political considerations", Alfano said on behalf of the 12,000-lawyer Philadelphia Bar Association.