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Trump says two justices should sit out cases, but they decide

By MARK SHERMAN

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A month before the Supreme Court takes up cases over his tax returns and financial records, President Donald Trump on Tuesday made the unusual suggestion that two liberal justices should not take part in those or any other cases involving him or his administration.

The remarks critical of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, New Yorkers like Trump, came during a news conference in India, where Trump was wrapping up a 36-hour visit full of praise and pageantry. They followed tweets in a similar vein.

Justices decide for themselves when to step aside from cases the court is considering, and it is highly unlikely either justice would sit out cases involving Trump, including two cases the court will hear on Mar. 31 over subpoenas for Trump’s tax, bank and financial records. The president wants the justices to reject demands for the records issued by House committees and the Manhattan district attorney.

The justices and Chief Justice John Roberts, who chided Trump in 2018 for his criticism of an “Obama judge,” had no comment, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

Trump’s comments were the most critical he has been of sitting justices since he took office, though he has not shied away from piling on complaints about federal judges who have ruled against him or, notably, convicted ally Roger Stone. Even as he was flying home from India Thursday, Trump tweeted from Air Force One that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, as well as the jury foreperson for Stone’s trial, were “totally biased.”

His comments about Ginsburg stem from interviews in 2016 with The Associated Press and other media outlets that were critical of Trump, then a candidate for president. She quickly apologized for her “ïll-advised” remarks, but Ginsburg has not recused herself from any Trump case so far.

His ire at Sotomayor appears to be referencing a dissenting opinion she wrote on Friday. The president said the justice was “trying to shame people with perhaps a different view into voting her way and that’s so inappropriate.”

But regardless of party and ideology, justices have said they write dissenting opinions to do just that — change the minds of people with whom they disagree through persuasive reasoning. Indeed, sometimes draft dissents are so successful that they become majority opinions of the court.

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