Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg mistakenly identified Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as one of the “women of the senate,” who can help bring harmony to Washington, D.C.
Ginsburg made the observation Monday night while receiving Allegheny College’s Prize for Civility in Public Life, which was also being award posthumously to her former friend and colleague Justice Antonin Scalia.
The event happened to fall the same day Scalia’s replacement, Neil Gorsuch, was sworn in at the nation’s 101st Supreme Court justice.
Ginsburg noted for the audience that when she was appointed to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton “the hearing was altogether civil.” There was no effort to filibuster her. In fact, the confirmation vote was 96 to 3. Then the party breakdown in the Senate was 57 Democrats and 42 Republicans.
The 83-year-old also pointed out that the Senate unanimously approved Ronald Reagan’s appointment of Justice Scalia in 1986, when the body’s makeup was very similar to today: 53 Republicans, 47 Democrats.
Ginsburg lamented the loss of civility in Washington and hoped past recipients of Allegheny College’s prize like Sen. John McCain and “the women of the Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham” would help lead the way back to more “harmonious work ways.”
Of course, Ginsburg need look no further than the mirror, if she would like that to be true.
Last summer, the justice took the very unusual move of taking sides in the presidential race with very public and negative statements to the press about then candidate Donald Trump.
She told CNN last July that Trump is a “faker” adding, “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.”
Those comments came on top of ones she made to the New York Times, 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.”
Ginsburg appeared very confident that Hillary Clinton would win when asked about the next president making appointments to the Supreme Court.
“She is bound to have a few appointments in her term,” the justice stated.
Ginsburg’s remarks caught the attention of the presidential candidate, who issued one of his famous tweets in response:
Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot – resign!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 13, 2016
Ginsburg retracted her “ill-advised” comments about Trump, writing, “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. … In the future I will be more circumspect.”
Court watchers, like Jonathan Turley, believe that Ginsburg fully expected Clinton to appoint her replacement, and resisted calls to retire during Obama’s terms. Now she faces the prospect that a conservative may well replace her on the court, appointed by Donald Trump.