This week I criticized Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito for a speech he gave to the Federal Society. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as I’ve spent two decades criticizing Richter for such controversial public speeches. However, I have been impressed in the past few days by politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren and liberal faculty members who are utterly outraged at such a public comment by a sedentary judiciary. For years I have criticized Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s far more egregious comments without people like Warren protesting. Instead, Ginsburg became the “Notorious RBG”. However, there is no place for a notorious SAA in the media or in academia.
Admittedly, I have a more traditional and cohesive view of the public role of judges. I have particularly criticized the late Justice Antonin Scalia and the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who clearly enjoyed appearances in front of ideologically supportive groups. We have seen an increasing number of public speaking from judges in both books and current affairs speeches over the past few decades. I’ve called this trend the “Rise of Celebrity Justice”.
As I mentioned earlier, Alito Justice responded to attacks on religious freedom and freedom of expression, including referring to previous cases and disputes before the Court of Justice. He also stated, “The Covid crisis has highlighted constitutional fault lines” when attacking such rights. Alito has also launched liberals whom he sees as a threat to religious rights.[i]In certain corners, religious freedom is quickly becoming an unfavorable right. “Alito attacked the Obama administration’s” protracted campaign “and” relentless attack “against the little sisters of the poor. He also criticized a Washington state for requiring pharmacies to prevent emergencies. He claimed that such emergency contraception “destroys an embryo after fertilization”. All these questions have been and will be dealt with again before the Court of Justice. Indeed, when Alito made these rash comments, the Catholic Church came to its court on precisely these issues.
So there is reason to be critical of Alito. However, the voices come from people who once encouraged such comments from Ginsburg. Now there was nothing but total disgust. This was not “notorious”, it was bad.
Rep Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif. Stated, “These are breathtaking, harmful words from Justice Alito.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren was beside herself with shock and disgust: “Supreme Court justices are not supposed to be political hacks. his right speech is nakedly partisan. ”
Others repeated calls for the court to be grabbed or for other partisan movements to take place in the face of Alito’s remarks. Aaron Belkin, Director of Take Back the Court said: “Justice Alito’s extremely inappropriate speech is a reminder that the Republicans have robed the Supreme Court with extremist politicians – and they are planning a partisan tour.
Still, Alito’s comments look positively tame compared to what Ginsburg regularly stated in speeches that raved the media, congressmen, and academia. While I was praising Ginsburg as a lawyer, she undermined the court in these public speeches. Ginsburg had a base of supporters, and she maintained that base with speeches that were openly partisan, and she often discussed issues in front of, or probably in front of, the court. It was always a blatant conflict for the lawyer referred to in the “Ginsburg Rule”. The rule is often cited by candidates who refuse to raise issues or cases in confirmatory hearings that may take place before the court. It is a rule based on principles of legal ethics for all lawyers. It’s not just limited to confirmations. It applies to all judges and judges who discuss such issues outside of the courts at any time. After refusing to answer even general questions in these hearings, the judges will speak publicly on the same questions once they are confirmed. Indeed, some judges in these speeches seem to have a fan base or constituency right or left – a serious challenge to the tradition of neutrality expected of our judges.
Despite repeated controversies during public speeches on political issues, Ginsburg is not deterred. In the same year that she died, Ginsburg continued to make such speeches to discuss issues such as the ERA, to the delight of Liberals. Shortly before, Ginsburg reiterated her view that sexist voters prevented Hillary Clinton from being elected president – a repetition of controversial comments in her 2017 speech. Once again, the comments wowed Liberals.
As in her 2017 speech, Ginsburg reiterated her view that sexist voters were preventing Hillary Clinton from being elected president. Ginsburg spoke at a Columbia University Women’s Conference event
“I think it was difficult for Hillary Clinton to get through the macho atmosphere that was prevalent during this campaign, and she was criticized in a way that I believe no man would have been criticized. I think anyone who has followed this campaign would answer it the same way I did: yes, sexism played a prominent role. “
Ginsburg even attacked members of Congress for speaking inappropriately publicly. In an interview, Ginsburg beat up senators for discussing their views on merit prior to actual impeachment. She insisted, “If a judge said that, a judge would be expelled from sitting on the case.” In discussing these issues with the BBC’s Razia Iqbal, Ginsburg commented on Trump’s request for a review of the basis for impeachment. She turned down the idea, noting: “The president is not a lawyer, he is not legally trained.” The Tribunal has just opened a case that may have implications for the impeachment, and specifically the obstruction article in Congress. It is absolutely inappropriate for Ginsburg to comment on this topic. She then added criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senators who had discussed their views on merit: “Well, if a judge said so, a judge would be expelled from the session.”
Justice Ginsburg started another firestorm over public comments about how she would move to New Zealand if Donald Trump were elected. Ginsburg apologized for this public controversy even though I had a column discussing how the incident led to a much bigger problem in the courtroom. While expressing “regret” in this instance, it hasn’t stopped Ginsburg from continuing to speak publicly and deal with topical issues, despite making a strange distinction on that occasion.
Alito might need a training band to get to the infamous stage, but I wouldn’t expect it.