‘The president is not a lawyer’: Ginsburg reacts after Trump asks if SCOTUS can stop impeachment

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took a jab at President Donald Trump on Monday after the president suggested in a tweet that the Supreme Court could put an end to Democrats’ impeachment efforts.

“The president is not a lawyer,” Ginsburg said. According to Fox News, the justice’s comments came after Trump asked in a tweet earlier this month if the Supreme Court could “stop” what he called “the impeachment hoax.”

Ginsburg made her remarks at an event in New York where she was honored with the $1 million Berggruen Institute Prize for her contribution to philosophy and culture, according to Breitbart. The justice said she plans to donate the prize money to nonprofits that focus on promoting economic opportunities for women.

A reactive institution

Ginsburg said on Monday that she has hope for “good people on both sides of the aisle to say let’s stop this dysfunction” and “work together for the good of the country,” though she did not say whether her comments were related to impeachment. Adding that Trump is “not law-trained,” Ginsburg emphasized that the Supreme Court is supposed to be a nonpartisan entity.

“The truth is, the judiciary is a reactive institution,” she said, according to Fox. “We don’t have a program, we don’t have an agenda. We react to what’s out there.”

The House is expected to pass two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday on a party-line vote, with just a few moderate Democrats voting against the measure. If the House indeed votes to impeach, the Senate impeachment trial will be presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Ginsburg, for her part, will not have any part in the trial itself.

An impeachment “hoax”

Republicans in the House have said repeatedly that the impeachment of Trump is nothing more than an attempt to overturn a legitimate election, and leaders in the Republican-led Senate have said that they will not vote to convict Trump and remove him from office. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he may hold a vote to dismiss the articles without calling any witnesses, as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has requested, according to Breitbart.

Trump initially requested a longer trial and the ability to call his own witnesses like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), but he backed off the push for a longer trial after McConnell said he thought a faster trial would be better.

McConnell has said he will begin negotiating rules for a Senate trial, but would force a vote on Republicans’ preferred rules if an agreement can’t be reached. Any such votes would only need 51 votes to pass, and Republicans have 53 seats.

As of Wednesday, no Senate Republican has said they would vote to convict Trump, including a few who have been critical of Trump in the past like Mitt Romney (UT) and Susan Collins (ME). It is unclear whether any Republicans will vote for Senate rules that would prolong the trial or allow witnesses to be called.

Besides lacking bipartisan support, impeachment also lacks public support from the majority of American voters, according to a number of recent polls, which also suggest that Trump’s support has grown and Democrats’ support has shrunk since their impeachment effort began in October, USA Today notes.

While Trump readily admits that impeachment will be a permanent stain on his record, he is also correct that there is no justification for it. Democrats will be on the dark side of history for this politically motivated and meaningless act.

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