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Trump says Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor should recuse themselves from cases involving him

Posted at 8:40 AM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 10:41:25-05

President Trump says Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor should recuse themselves from any Supreme Court cases involving him or his administration. Mr. Trump said at a press conference Tuesday in India that he thinks both judges have said terrible things about him.

The president first made the suggestion on Twitter, citing a Fox News segment about Sotomayor saying the majority-conservative court gives relief too quickly to the federal government. Mr. Trump has long harbored frustrations about Ginsburg, who in 2016 called the candidate a "faker." Sotomayor authored a dissent in a 5-4 decision allowing the administration's rule restricting public benefits for immigrants, saying the highest court has been too quick to grant "emergency" relief to the federal government.

"Sotomayor accuses GOP appointed Justices of being biased in favor of Trump," Mr. Trump tweeted overnight."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!"

The president doubled down on his claim during his New Delhi press conference Tuesday, when he was asked for the rationale behind his tweet.

"Well it's very obvious, I mean I always thought frankly that Justice Ginsburg should do it because she went wild during the campaign when I was running," Mr. Trump said. "I don't know who she was for, perhaps she was for Hillary Clinton, if you can believe it. But she said some things that were obviously very inappropriate, she later sort of apologized, I wouldn't say it was an apology but she sort of apologized. And then Justice Sotomayor said what she said yesterday, you know very well what she said yesterday, it was a big story, and I just don't know how they can not recuse themselves for anything having to do with Trump or Trump-related."

Pressed for what Sotomayor said that was so inappropriate, the president claimed she was trying to "shame" people to see things a different way, without clarifying what she said that was so unfitting for a Supreme Court justice.

Sotomayor had said the Supreme Court was "partly to blame" for the breakdown in the appellate process, because the court has been "all too quick" to grant the government — the Trump administration — relief when it asks for it.

"The Government seeks emergency relief from this court, asking it to grant a stay where two lower courts have not. The Government insists—even though review in a court of appeals is imminent—that it will suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not grant a stay. And the Court yields," Sotomayor wrote.

"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. But make no mistake: Such a shift in the Court's own behavior comes at a cost. I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decision-making process that this Court must strive to protect."