In the course of U.S. history, presidents often disagree with decisions from the nation’s highest court. But disagreeing is one thing, asking Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves is a whole other level. Donald Trump clearly isn’t happy with Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent on the so-called “wealth tax” on immigrants and he made that known on Twitter. These tweets seemed to come after he watched a segment on Fox News.
He was asked more about his comments during his news conference in India today.
As the New York Times though points out, “Justice Sotomayor did not frame her disagreement in partisan terms, and her dissent was written in much the same way as others by justices who lose divided rulings.”
There are a few angles to this to keep in mind. It’s worth emphasizing, for example, that some important cases related to the president will soon receive high court scrutiny, including litigation regarding Trump’s secret tax returns. The fact that the president wants Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg to “recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related, matters” suggests he may be concerned about the cases’ outcome.
Benen adds this may also come into play when the case of Trump’s tax returns makes its way to the court.
So far, Trump hasn’t deliberately defied any Supreme Court rulings. But if a high court majority were to rule in the coming months that the law requires him to disclose his hidden tax returns to Congress, how likely is it that the president would balk, insisting that Sotomayor and Ginsburg shouldn’t have heard the case?
Meanwhile, some are quick to point out there is actually a conflict of interest on the court that is on Trump’s side. AXIOS broke a story that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has been helping the president develop “detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust.”
*This post contains opinion and analysis