WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court on Thursday apologized for her recent remarks about the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, saying they were “ill-advised.”
Earlier this week, Justice Ginsburg called Mr. Trump “a faker” who “really has an ego” and said he had been treated too gently by the press. Mr. Trump, she said, “says whatever comes into his head at the moment” and has no consistency in his thinking. She also made critical remarks in interviews with The New York Times and The Associated Press.
“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” Justice Ginsburg said in a statement on Thursday. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.”
The brief apology was a rare, public admission of fault by a member of the Supreme Court, an institution which jealously guards its traditions and almost never acknowledges missteps in the conduct of the justices.
It also came at a dramatic moment in the presidential campaign, with Mr. Trump preparing to name his vice-presidential pick on Friday and then, next week, formally accept the Republican party’s nomination. The clash between a presidential candidate and a sitting Supreme Court justice is certain to further roil an already raucous campaign.
Mr. Trump had lashed back at the justice in recent days, and she was also criticized in editorials and by legal ethics experts.
“I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview with The Times on Tuesday. “I think it’s a disgrace to the court, and I think she should apologize to the court. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”
Few legal experts had expected Justice Ginsburg to offer the apology that Mr. Trump demanded. Justices typically remain largely out of the public eye and are insulated from political pressures and news media coverage that can compel action.
But the torrent of criticism, especially from supporters and allies of Justice Ginsburg, appears to have pierced that protection.
Former Justice Antonin Scalia, who died this year, was often the target of demands for apologies for his acerbic comments from the bench or in speeches. Thy generally did not materialize, though the justice did apologize to reporters in 2014 after a deputy federal marshal ordered them to destroy recordings of a half-hour speech by Justice Scalia at a Mississippi high school.
(via: New York Times)