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LISTEN: Justice Ginsburg Expands On Decision To Apologize For Trump Remarks

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attends a conference in October 2010 in Long Beach, California.
Kevork Djansezian
Getty Images
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attends a conference in October 2010 in Long Beach, California.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told NPR's Nina Totenberg that earlier comments she made about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump were "incautious."

In a New York Times interview last weekend, Ginsburg caused a stir by expressing her opinion on a presidential candidate — a line justices usually don't cross.

Ginsburg said that she "can't imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president." She also joked that her husband, who died in 2010, would have said it was "time for us to move to New Zealand."

Trump responded harshly on Twitter, calling for Ginsburg to resign, the Washington Post said her remarks were "inappropriate," and the New York Times editorial page sided with Trump.

Ginsburg expressed regret Thursday morning and in a statement and interview with CNN. On Thursday afternoon, Ginsburg further explained her actions in an wide-ranging interview with Totenberg.

Asked why she felt it was time to say she was sorry about the remarks, Ginsburg said:

"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.' And that's exactly how I feel about this whole business."

Ginsburg has had a history of transparency, Totenberg noted — the justice announced a cancer diagnosis to the public and a correction she made to an opinion she wrote, after a professor noted the mistake in a blog post. Totenberg then asked if this, like correction, was simply acknowledging a "goof.

Ginsburg responded, "I stand, Nina, by what I said. 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 any more."

Larger excerpts from this interview can be heard Friday on NPR's Morning Edition.

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Meg Anderson is an editor on NPR's Investigations team, where she shapes the team's groundbreaking work for radio, digital and social platforms. She served as a producer on the Peabody Award-winning series Lost Mothers, which investigated the high rate of maternal mortality in the United States. She also does her own original reporting for the team, including the series Heat and Health in American Cities, which won multiple awards, and the story of a COVID-19 outbreak in a Black community and the systemic factors at play. She also completed a fellowship as a local reporter for WAMU, the public radio station for Washington, D.C. Before joining the Investigations team, she worked on NPR's politics desk, education desk and on Morning Edition. Her roots are in the Midwest, where she graduated with a Master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.