Trump calls on NZ-loving justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign

  • 14/07/2016
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Getty)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Getty)

US Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has called for the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, describing her as mentally unfit after she lambasted him in a series of media interviews.

"Justice Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me," Mr Trump said in a Twitter post on Wednesday. "Her mind is shot - resign!"

The New York businessman chided Ms Ginsburg, 83, for criticising him this week and expressing concern for the country's future if he is elected in November.

Mr Trump said it was inappropriate for Supreme Court justices to weigh in on political campaigns.

He told the New York Times on Tuesday that he thought it was a disgrace to the court and that Ms Ginsburg should apologise to her colleagues on the bench.

Mr Trump was not alone in the rebuke. In an editorial on Wednesday, the New York Times urged Ms Ginsburg to uphold the court's tradition of silence in political campaigns.

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling," the editorial said.

The Times said there was no legal requirement that Supreme Court justices keep silent on political campaigns, but it expressed concern that Ms Ginsburg would jeopardise her own commitment to impartiality.

Ms Ginsburg was not immediately available for comment on Mr Trump's remarks and the editorial.

Ms Ginsburg is among the liberals on the Supreme Court, which has been ideologically split with four liberals and four conservatives since the sudden death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February.

In a CNN interview posted on Tuesday, Ms Ginsburg called Mr Trump "a faker."

"He has no consistency about him," she said. "He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.

"How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."

Earlier, Ms Ginsburg joked about moving to New Zealand if Mr Trump wins the White House.

"I can't imagine what this place would be - I can't imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president," she said in a New York Times interview published on Sunday.

The Supreme Court, whose nine justices are nominated by the US president to lifetime appointments, is in the spotlight this presidential election cycle after Mr Scalia's death.

The Republican-controlled US Senate has refused to take up Democratic President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Mr Scalia, Merrick Garland. Republicans have said the next president should be allowed to nominate a replacement for the conservative Mr Scalia.

The next President is likely to have other opportunities to shape the court as ageing justices retire or die.

Mr Trump adviser Sam Clovis told CNN on Wednesday that Ms Ginsburg's comments were out of character for Supreme Court justices but should not have been surprising.

"She has always been a firebrand," he said.

US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who dropped his presidential bid on Tuesday and endorsed rival Ms Clinton to be the Democratic candidate for the November 8 election, told ABC's Good Morning America he agreed with Ms Ginsburg.

"I think that Trump is a total opportunist," Mr Sanders said. "I do not believe anything that comes out of his mouth."