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Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has expanded on her statement, apologizing for her critical comments about Donald Trump. In an interview with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg sought to put the controversy behind her.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Ginsburg's remarks came in a previously scheduled, wide-ranging interview about her life on and off the court. Just hours earlier, she'd issued a statement essentially apologizing for her Trump comments, comments that had drawn criticism as inappropriate from liberals as well as conservatives.

Why did you just think that it was time to say you were sorry you had made these remarks?

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Because it was incautious. I said something I should not have said. And I made a statement that reads, on reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill advised. I regret making them. Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future, I will be more circumspect.

TOTENBERG: I noted that in the past, she's been candid about mistakes. So I asked, did you just goof?

GINSBURG: I would say yes to your question, and that's why I gave the statement. I did something I should not have done. It's over and done with, and I don't want to discuss it anymore.

TOTENBERG: Turning to the recent Supreme Court term, Ginsburg spoke at some length about the abortion decision striking down severe restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas and the decision upholding affirmative action in higher education. She called the abortion restrictions enacted in the name of protecting women's health and safety a sham. They had the practical effect of cutting the number of clinics in the state in half, with even more set to close if the law had been upheld.

GINSBURG: What they did was make access to abortion almost impossible for many poor women, thus driving them to back-alley abortionists the way it was in the not-so-good old days.

TOTENBERG: Both the abortion and affirmative action cases were decided by a 5-3 vote, with Justice Anthony Kennedy for the first time voting to uphold a race-conscious affirmative action plan, and for just the second time, voting to strike down an abortion restriction. The outcome in both cases, Ginsburg suggested, would quiet the turmoil and uncertainty over these issues in the courts.

GINSBURG: I think for the nonce, we will not have any major cases in either field because the court spoke. I think both decisions were excellent, very well-reasoned and will be accepted.

TOTENBERG: The interview with Ginsburg was conducted for the Academy of Achievement, a nonprofit education foundation. Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.