As the full House prepares to vote on and presumably approve formal articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, he keeps lashing out. In one of his recent outbursts about the process, he suggested that he and his allies could go to the U.S. Supreme Court in a bid to halt impeachment — but this week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made clear that the president’s imagined vindication in court will not happen. In the process, she also shot down the president’s complaining in general by pointedly noting that he’s “not a lawyer.”
The Justice made those remarks at a New York City event this week where she accepted the Berggruen Institute Prize for Philosophy and Culture, which includes a $1 million payout that she plans to donate to women’s advocacy organizations. Discussing the impeachment debacle and the president’s suggestion of a Supreme Court remedy, Ginsburg noted:
‘The president is not a lawyer… He’s not law-trained. But the truth is, the judiciary is a reactive institution. We don’t have a program, we don’t have an agenda. We react to what’s out there.’
In other words: no, the Supreme Court will not be rushing to the president’s aid without some kind of actual demonstrable harm, and there is no such demonstrated negative effect to the president. A lower court has even already ruled in favor of the impeachment inquiry, deeming it a legitimate enough judicial proceeding to warrant the release of grand jury material from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
CNN notes that ‘Ginsburg also said she hopes there will be “good people on both sides of the aisle to say let’s stop this dysfunction” and “work together for the good of the country,”‘ but she did not apparently provide much more detail on that point, although there are certainly readily available examples that she might have in mind. Republicans have lept at defending the president through whatever rhetorical contortions might be necessary including plenty of public outbursts and disruptions, and they have claimed that Democrats are only pursuing impeachment because they hate Trump.
In reality, Democrats have publicly laid out numerous pieces of evidence implicating the president in a scheme to exchange military aid for dirt on the Bidens from Ukraine.
Now, the issues are set to come to a head in a soon upcoming Senate trial for the president. There’s already been tension; this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced Democratic calls for additional witnesses as indicative of a “fishing expedition” that would set “nightmarish precedent” for the Senate. In reality, Democrats are simply after much of the same material that they have been seeking for some time at this point. That includes testimony from key Trump figures like White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, but McConnell evidently prefers to stick to coordinating impeachment trial strategy with the White House. Despite this collusion, he’d no doubt like to come across as an impartial handler.