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'He is a Faker': Ruth Bader Ginsburg Publicly Spars with Donald Trump

Supreme Court Justice's anti-Trump comments earn centrists' ire, leading others to wonder, why does 'neutrality' override fears of a candidate 'threatening to the democratic order?'

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking at a conference in upstate New York earlier this year. (Photo: Mike Groll/AP)

In recent media interviews, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has publicly decried the candidacy of Donald Trump for president, characterizing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as a "faker" with "no consistency" and "an ego."

Her unusually partisan comments earned some condemnation from centrist media commentators as well as Trump himself.

In an interview with CNN published Tuesday, Ginsburg said: "He is a faker[...] He has no consistency about him. 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? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."

The CNN comments followed similar remarks Ginsburg made to the New York Times on Friday, when she said, "I can't imagine what this place 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," she said, referring to the prospect of Trump nominating someone to the bench.

Trump responded with a Tweet on Wednesday calling on Ginsburg to resign, saying "her mind is shot."

Ginsburg's openness regarding her opinion on Trump is highly unusual for a Supreme Court justice, as the members of the court tend to avoid media interviews and usually strive to appear non-partisan, refraining from commenting on electoral politics. The Code of Conduct for United State Judges also states that "a judge should not[...] publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office."

And it was for those reasons that the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post on Wednesday came down on Trump's side, arguing that Ginsburg "needs to drop the political punditry" (the Times) and that her comments were "much, much better left unsaid by a member of the Supreme Court" (the Post).

Yet journalist and commentator Glenn Greenwald jettisoned those arguments on Twitter, where he wrote that he found it "hard to take seriously court impartiality/Ginsburg furor after 5 GOP-appointed judges stopped vote-counting & made George W. Bush president."

Moreover, Greenwald wondered, does the supposed obligation for neutrality ever become less important than confronting a candidate "threatening to the democratic order?"

Greenwald continued to argue that the media's response to Ginsburg's comments was hypocritical, as the same newspapers now loudly criticizing Ginsburg for condemning Trump have filled many of their pages with articles describing Trump as a bigoted right-wing fascist who poses a threat to democracy.

And so Greenwald posed the question:

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