Trump says Sotomayor, Ginsberg must recuse themselves from cases related to him

Ruth Bader Ginsburg,Sonia Sotomayor
Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, center, and Sonia Sotomayor, right, attend a panel discussion celebrating Sandra Day O'Connor on Sept. 25, 2019, at the Library of Congress in Washington. Copyright Jacquelyn Martin AP file
Copyright Jacquelyn Martin AP file
By Allan Smith with NBC News Politics
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The comments come one month before the Supreme Court takes up cases related to Trump's tax returns and financial records.


President Donald Trump said two Supreme Court justices appointed by Democratic presidents should recuse themselves, apparently because of a recent dissenting opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and years-old remarks Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made about the president during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"Well, it's very obvious. I mean, I always thought that frankly, that Justice Ginsberg should do it cause she went wild during the campaign when I was running," Trump said during a news conference in India on Tuesday morning, adding, "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," Trump said. "And I just don't know how they cannot recuse themselves to anything having to do with Trump or Trump-related."

He said Sotomayor was seeking "to shame" justices who had a different view into voting her way.

The comments, which followed an earlier tweet making similar demands, come one month before the Supreme Court takes up cases related to Trump's tax returns and financial records. Trump is hopeful the court will reject demands for his records from Congress and New York authorities.

In 2016, Ginsburg made critical remarks about Trump, which she called 'ill-advised" soon after. With regards to Sotomayor, Trump appeared to be referencing a Friday dissent she wrote in a case involving the administration's "Public Charge" immigration policy.

"Claiming one emergency after another, the government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming limited court resources in each. And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow," Sotomayor wrote.

Justices of all ideologies frequently write such dissenting opinions with the aim of persuading their colleagues to change their views.

Trump's call for the judges' recusal comes as Justice Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, has worked to provide Trump with suggestions of whom to fire in his administration, as well as who should replace them. The New York Times reported that since the impeachment trial concluded, Trump has taken a closer look at the recommendations as he seeks to remove those from government he views as disloyal.

On MSNBC Tuesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., called Trump's comments "kind of his pattern of trying to silence women, to be perfectly honest."

"I think both of their statements over the many years have been accurate," Gillibrand said. "I think what Sonia Sotomayor just said about a bias with his judges and justices is true."

Elsewhere, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters he doesn't believe the justices will be recusing themselves.

"I mean, you know, judges have opinions, too," he said. "She was pretty vocal in her dissent, and I disagree with her dissent, but she has the right to do it I don't, that's, I don't think that's gonna happen."

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