The Trump Administration was given a mild victory in a Supreme Court decision handed down on Monday. Rejecting the lower court’s ruling that said President Trump’s travel ban was unconstitutional, SCOTUS is allowing much of the travel ban to stay in place – but with significant restrictions on individuals who have a bona fide relationship with the United States. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments concerning the ban’s presidential authority and religious discrimination in the first session of October.
Fifty-eight House Republicans, however, have formally asked Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the upcoming case because of her past comments regarding Trump. In a signed letter, the GOP congressmen give reason as to why she could not judge the case with an impartial attitude due to her criticisms of Trump during the presidential campaign.
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) June 26, 2017
The letter asks that RBG not only recuse herself from the upcoming International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump case, but from any cases involving President Trump. Despite a Supreme Court justice supposed to having complete in impartiality in cases, the letter was able to list numerous examples of her criticizing the president:
“As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, you are required to recuse yourself in cases in which your ‘impartiality might reasonably be questioned,’ and where you have ‘a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party.”
“Your public criticism of Donald Trump during the campaign included statements such as ‘I can’t imagine what this place would be – I can’t imagine what the country would be – with Donald Trump as our president.’ You referred to Donald Trump as a ‘faker.’ When asked about the possibility of Trump winning the presidency, you responded ‘I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.'”
These are very legitimate examples to bring up. Ginsburg issued grave concerns about the possibility of a President Trump to the New York Times in a July 2016 interview. She then went on to call him a “faker” to CNN. The unprecedented criticisms by a Supreme Court justice led to (otherwise friendly) media outlets showing dismay at her actions. The New York Times and The Washington Post criticized her for the comments. She later had to walk back the statements.
Given her very public disapproval of President Trump, it is hard to imagine Ginsburg showing impartiality when the case is heard in October. It’s unclear what she will do or how she will handle the mounting calls for her recusal. The executive direct of Fix the Court, a group that advocates for more transparency in the Supreme Court, gave his remarks about what RBG should do.
“Justice Ginsburg should take this opportunity and explain to the American people her views on why she should stay on the case,” stated Gabe Roth. “It is possible there are convincing reasons for Justice Ginsburg to hear the travel ban lawsuit despite her clear disdain for the petitioner. It is her responsibility now to air those reasons.”