Do Justice Ginsburg’s Comments on Donald Trump Require Recusal in a Clinton v. Trump Case?

That’s the argument some conservatives have been raising on Twitter, following this part of RBG’s interview with Adam Liptak:

These days, she is making no secret of what she thinks of a certain presidential candidate.

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

It reminded her of something her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said.

“‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” Justice Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.

As I understand it, the question is whether the comments would cause a reasonable person to question the impartiality of the justice. I think this is ultimately a question for judicial ethicists, but I do think following these comments it is a legitimate question to raise, should Donald Trump’s campaign come to the Court with any legal questions before the election.

I also expect that for many how one views this issue will depend upon ideology: many conservatives will be quick to pounce and many liberals will be quick to defend.

Heaven help us if we get a Clinton v. Trump case to the Supreme Court, wholly apart from this new controversy.

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