By Tony Perkins
“A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints…it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.” Believe it or not, those are the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg — the very Justice who is guilty of doing exactly that on marriage. Two months before the Supreme Court is set to hear its first arguments on the constitutionality of state marriage amendments, Justice Ginsburg’s interview with Bloomberg left little doubt what her “forecast” is for the case.
“The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” she told reporters this month. “In recent years, people have said this is the way I am. And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next door neighbor, we’re very fond of them…. So I think it would not take — it would not take a large adjustment.” Her comments exploded across social media, where people on both sides were surprised with the partiality she showed toward redefining marriage. And while calls for her recusal increase, NRO’s Ed Whelan points out that the idea isn’t a radical one.
“This is exactly the situation Justice Scalia faced a dozen years ago in the wake of his public comments criticizing a Ninth Circuit ruling against the Pledge of Allegiance. As Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick wrote at the time, Scalia was ‘intellectually honest enough to know that he slipped,’ and he thus ‘recused himself from what would have been one of the most important church-state cases of his career.’ His recusal meant that ‘the court may well split 4-4 on the case, in which case the 9th Circuit’s decision will stand, for all the states in its jurisdiction.’ (In the end, the remaining eight justices all voted to reverse the Ninth Circuit, five on grounds of lack of standing and three on the merits.)” Is Justice Ginsburg principled enough to do the same? We’ll see.
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Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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