Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg made another public mental blunder this week, causing many to question whether she is still fit to serve on the nation’s highest court. Her recent comments about President Trump have also been controversial.
In a speech given Monday, Ginsburg, 84, seemed to forget GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham’s gender, referring to him as a woman. Many saw the obvious joke of Ginsburg doubting Graham’s masculinity. Others, however, wondered if Ginsburg’s mental acuity is in decline.
Some may try to dismiss Ginsburg’s blunder as simple misspeak, but the same consideration has not been given to President Trump’s mistakes. Earlier this year, a writer for Deadspin speculated that President Trump may be suffering from dementia based solely on what he was tweeted. By that standard, what Justice Ruth Ginsburg is saying is fair game.
The apparent gender confusion happened while she was giving her speech. She said: ‘Let’s hope members of Congress, the members that Allegheny College has already honored — Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John McCain, the women of the Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham — let’s hope that they and others of goodwill will lead in restoring harmonious work ways.’
Out of context, it sounded like Ginsberg was having a senior moment by calling Graham one of the ‘women of the senate’ with Dianne Feinstein.
However, Graham and Feinstein were the recipients of the award in 2013 and the ‘women of the senate’ won in 2014.
Steve Aaron, a spokesman representing Allegheny College clarified the confusion to the Washington Examiner, who highlighted what appeared to be a mistake Tuesday.
Here is video of Ginsburg’s blunder.
This is not the first questionable remark Ginsburg has made recently. Over the past year, she has broken with usual decorum and openly criticized Donald Trump. Her comments caused many to wonder if her objectivity and self-control were compromised.
“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” Ginsburg said in a statement. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.”
Hours after releasing the statement Ginsburg talked exclusively to NPR’s Nina Totenberg, and expanded upon her statement. She called her comments “incautious.”
“I did something I should not have done,” she added. “It’s over and done with and I don’t want to discuss it anymore.”
Earlier in the week, in an interview with Joan Biskupic, CNN’s legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer, Ginsburg had extensively criticized Trump as a “faker. ”
Her comments enraged Trump and leading congressional Republicans, and thrust the 83-year-old justice into the middle of the heated presidential campaign.
Ginsburg’s remarks to CNN as well as to the Associated Press and The New York Times created a highly unusual week at the Supreme Court. Not only was it unprecedented for a member of the current court to delve so deeply into a presidential campaign, but a statement expressing regret is also quite rare.
“He is a faker,” she told CNN, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief. “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.”
Justice Stephen Breyer was asked about her comments Wednesday and according to the event organizers at the Sun Valley Writer’s Conference he declined to comment saying, “If I had an opinion, I wouldn’t express it.”
If, in fact, Ginsburg’s public mental blunders are part of a personal issue, it could be a major concern for the Supreme Court, especially if her ability to be objective is compromised.