President tightens grip on federal watchdogs
Trump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases
President Trump late Monday suggested Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg should recuse themselves from cases involving him or his administration after Sotomayor criticized the White House and some of her fellow justices for repeatedly ruling in favor of the president.
"This is a terrible thing to say," Trump tweeted from India moments before he departed for a welcome ceremony with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Trying to 'shame' some into voting her way? She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a 'faker,' " he continued, initially misspelling the justice's last name. "Both should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related, matters! While 'elections have consequences', I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!"
The president's tweet indicated he was reacting to coverage of Sotomayor's comments on Fox News.
It's unclear how removing two Democratic-appointed judges in certain cases would increase fairness on the court.
Sotomayor, who was appointed by then-President Obama in 2009 and confirmed by the Senate, wrote a dissenting opinion last week after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to clear the way for the Trump administration's "public charge" rule to go into effect.
Sotomayor described a "now-familiar pattern" in which the Trump administration "seeks emergency relief from this Court, asking it to grant a stay where two lower courts have not. The Government insists-even though review in a court of appeals is imminent-that it will suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not grant a stay. And the Court yields."
She appeared to explicitly call out the conservative-leaning judges on the bench, writing that "the Court's recent behavior" has benefited "one litigant over all others."
Trump at a news conference in India Tuesday morning doubled down on his remarks, insisting that he felt Sotomayor's written opinion was "so inappropriate" without elaborating on why he thought so.
He added that he felt Ginsburg was biased dating back to his 2016 campaign, when she referred to him as "a faker" who "says whatever comes into his head at the moment."
"I just don't know how they cannot recuse themselves," Trump said.
Of the high court's nine justices, five were appointed by Republican presidents and four were appointed by Democratic presidents. Trump has appointed two: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump's call for two left-leaning justices to recuse themselves also comes as the court is likely to rule in the coming months on the president's financial records, among other cases.
The court has narrowly sided with Trump on a number of key cases throughout his first term, with the justices divided along ideological lines.
The justices upheld a version of the president's travel ban, the public charge rule and his ability to use military funds for his long-sought wall along the southern border.
Updated at 9:06 a.m.