When neutrality becomes impossible

Trump is angry (or is pretending to be angry) at Ruth Bader Ginsburg because she has said harsh things about him in public. Supreme Court justices aren’t supposed to take sides in political campaigns.

“I think it’s highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,” Trump told the Times by phone. “I think it’s a disgrace to the court and I think she should apologize to the court. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”

Ginsburg in recent days has ramped up her criticisms of Trump’s campaign. She has said he’s a “faker” who should release his tax returns, that she “can’t imagine” a Trump presidency, and that “everything” would be up for grabs with him occupying the White House. Ginsburg’s comments are unique in that a Supreme Court justice typically doesn’t comment on presidential candidates during election season.

I don’t know. I can see why the Supes don’t usually get involved, and why it’s better that they don’t…but Trump is a special case. He’s special because he has no relevant experience or education, and because he’s a reckless pugnacious loose cannon. He’s not a real “presidential candidate” in the normal sense of the phrase. He’s a noisily self-promoting tv personality and “tycoon” – he’s a joke rather than a serious candidate. He’s also a vocal, aggressive racist. He’s not so much a candidate as an emergency. The rules change for emergencies.

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