Justice Ginsburg Comments on Abortion Law Stir Recusal Debate

From The Wall Street Journal Law Blog:

Comments made by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a magazine interview have reignited a long-simmering ethical debate confronting the Supreme Court over when a justice ought to sit out a case.

In a New Republic interview published Sunday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked by legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen if state lawmakers could be trusted to safeguard abortion rights.

“How could you trust legislatures in view of the restrictions states are imposing?” Justice Ginsburg replied. “Think of the Texas legislation that would put most clinics out of business. The courts can’t be trusted either.”

It’s not surprising that the liberal Justice Ginsburg would have a dim view of the Texas law (House Bill 2), which requires abortion physicians to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a standard that could shutter many clinics in the state. But what raised eyebrows is that Justice Ginsburg openly talked about her views on an issue under review by an appellate court and potentially headed her way.

South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman thought the justice crossed a line. “It seems that Justice Ginsburg has made up her mind about this law [and believes that] it is not a health measure, but a law to put clinics out of business,” he wrote on his blog.


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