Wednesday, February 09, 2011

More foot-in-mouth disease

I do not think this was terribly cool of Justice Ginsburg:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps not aware that she was taking a firm position on an issue not yet before the Supreme Court, has suggested that the attempt to appeal immediately in a constitutional challenge to the new health reform law will fail. It was not the typically cautious Ginsburg who spoke out on the subject before an audience of students at George Washington University in Washington last week.

Although a story in the University’s student newspaper did not provide the full context of the Justice’s remarks, it quoted her as saying without qualification on Thursday evening that the health care issue would have to reach the Court through “the ordinary route” — that is, after decisions on it by the federal appeals courts.

She went on to say, according to the report: ”The court itself is a reactive institution. We don’t decide, ‘We better get this or that case sooner rather than later.’ ‘” Further, the story said that, while some cases like those involving disclosure of the secret Pentagon Papers do get swift review, ”Ginsburg said the court benefits from reading opinions from lower courts when it decides whether or not to hear an appeal. ‘We have a range of views before us and can make a better informed decision.’ ”
That is of course usual practice, and I don't think such a procedural comment is exactly impeachment material, but I wouldn't be happy with Scalia making such a remark, so I don't see any reason to give Ginsburg a pass either. "No comment" is often the voice of wisdom.

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