Justice Ginsburg on impeachment: ‘Trump is not a lawyer.’ ‘Partial’ Senators should be ‘disqualified.’

(Image: BBC screenshot)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dismissed a question from President Donald Trump about whether the high court could intervene in the impeachment proceedings against him.

At an award ceremony event, the 86-year-old responded to a question about the president’s remarks by pointing out his lack of knowledge and experience on legal issues.

“What’s your reading of the Constitution in the context of the president of the United States saying that the Supreme Court should stop this impeachment? Is there a reading that you can present?” the BBC’s Razia Iqbal asked Ginsburg on Monday during a BBC interview.

“The president is not a lawyer. He’s not law-trained,” Ginsburg replied, drawing laughter from the crowd at the Fourth Annual Berggruen Prize Gala in New York City, where she was awarded the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture.

The Justice appointed by former President Bill Clinton was responding to Iqbal’s reference to a tweet by the president wondering about the Supreme Court weighing in to stop the impeachment process earlier this month.

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

Iqbal asked Ginsburg about potential bias in senators who may take part in the impeachment trial.

“You will be very aware that there are senators who are already saying before the impeachment gets to the Senate or the trial in the Senate, they’ve already made their minds up,” she said. “That’s problematic.”

Ginsburg, who had just noted that a judge needs to be impartial, responded to the idea of senators being biased.

“If a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified from sitting on the case,” she told Iqbal.

“My old Chief Justice Rehnquist put it very well,” she added. “He said “The day a judge stops being impartial and starts to do things to please the home crowd…that’s the day the judge should step down from office.'”

Apparently Ginsburg forgot that she once declared she could not even imagine a Trump presidency and would move to New Zealand if he was elected.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that he would be in “total coordination with the White House counsel” as the Democrats move forward with their impeachment efforts.

“There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent that we can,” the Kentucky Republican added.

“I’m not an impartial juror. This is a political process,” McConnell said this week. “There’s not anything judicial about it.”

Articles of impeachment drawn against the president charge him with obstruction of Congress and abuse of power for allegedly withholding US military aid to Ukraine while asking its president to investigate a potential political rival. The House of Representatives is debating and is expected to vote on the two articles Wednesday.

Trump fired off a scathing six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday making it clear that the Democrats’ “illegal, partisan attempted coup” would cost them dearly.

“You are not just after me, as president, you are after the entire Republican Party. History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade,” the president wrote. “I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election. They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power.”

Pelosi dismissed the letter as “sick” and “ridiculous,” though she admitted she had not “fully read it.”

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Frieda Powers

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