The unusual and apparently unprecedented battle of words between a justice of the Supreme Court and a presumptive presidential nominee continued Tuesday.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made clear that her criticism of Republican Donald Trump was not the result of an unguarded moment. She told a CNN analyst in an interview late Monday that Trump was a “faker” and said she was surprised the media have not pressed him more to release his tax returns.
Trump responded by telling a New York Times reporter that Ginsburg’s comments were “highly inappropriate” and that she should leave her lifetime appointment.
In interviews last week, Ginsburg made clear her distaste for the New York businessman. “I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she told The New York Times. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
She told The Associated Press that she assumed Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the November election. Ginsburg, 83, was nominated to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
Asked what would happen if Trump won instead, she said, “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”
Her comments were met with alarm by many judicial ethics experts, who called them surprising, if not potentially recusal-worthy should the court weigh a legal issue involving Trump.
But Ginsburg doubled down on Monday at a previously scheduled interview with CNN’s Joan Biskupic. “He is a faker,” Ginsburg said. “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?”
Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said Ginsburg had no comment on Trump’s reaction to her comments.
Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative, appeared with Trump last night near Indianapolis, saying Trump “understands” the country in a way no one has since former President Ronald Reagan, a GOP icon. The rally also was the latest public audition for Trump’s possible vice presidential pick. In the audience, Christina Lewellen of Indianapolis said he would have a calming effect because he “doesn’t get caught up in the drama like Donald does.”
Pence, a former congressman, is a proven fundraiser with close ties to billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch and their network of wealthy donors.