Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor broke with the norms and traditions of sitting jurists on the high court to level sharp criticism of her conservative-leaning colleagues in a dissenting opinion issued on Friday that accused the Republican-appointed justices of blindly siding with President Donald Trump’s administration.
Responding to a report about Sotomayor’s dissent that also highlighted prior anti-Trump remarks made by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump called out both liberal jurists with a tweet suggesting they recuse themselves from cases involving him and his administration, The Hill reported.
Sotomayor blasts conservative colleagues
In Sotomayor’s dissent, which came in opposition to the lifting of a district court-imposed injunction on an immigration rule change, the Obama-appointed jurist chastised her Republican-appointed colleagues for biased, which says is evidenced by similar prior rulings lifting lower court injunctions.
“This Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process. That is because the Court — in this case, the New York cases, and many others — has been all too quick to grant the Government’s ‘reflexiv[e]’ requests,” she wrote. “But make no mistake: Such a shift in the Court’s own behavior comes at a cost.”
“Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others,” she added later, in reference to the Trump administration.
Sotomayor ultimately concluded, “I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process that this Court must strive to protect.”
Trump calls for recusal
Fox News’ Laura Ingraham spoke about Sotomayor’s dissent on her program Monday and noted that Ginsburg also made partisan remarks against then-candidate Trump in 2016, whom she called a “faker” who was prone to saying “whatever comes into his head at the moment.”
President Trump must have been watching, because just a short time later he tweeted on the topic and tagged Ingraham in his two-part post.
Trump’s protestation read, “‘Sotomayor accuses GOP appointed Justices of being biased in favor of Trump.’ @IngrahamAngle @FoxNews This is a terrible thing to say. Trying to ‘shame’ some into voting her way? She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a ‘faker’. Both should recuse themselves … on all Trump, or Trump related, matters! While ‘elections have consequences’, I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!”
Double standard yet again
It seems incredibly unlikely that Sotomayor or Ginsburg would recuse themselves from future cases involving the Trump administration, and the president is sure to catch flak from Democrats and the media for even suggesting such a thing.
That said, Trump raised a valid point in terms of highligthing the obvious double standard that is at play.
It is apparently fine for liberal-leaning jurists to put their political bias on display by calling out their conservative colleagues or by openly criticizing the president, but it is an egregious wrong for those conservative-leaning jurists to purportedly reveal their own ideological preferences by siding with the administration on matters pertaining to the rule of law.