Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made comments earlier this year showing a distinct bias against Donald Trump and his ability to be President of the United States. She received extensive criticism for these comments, with people arguing that as a Justice of the Supreme Court, she should not share her political opinions off the bench. Now Justice Ginsburg is getting criticized again for speaking about her disapproval of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's action of kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at football games. She stated in an interview that his choice to kneel was "dumb" and "disrespectful" and comparable to burning an American flag - neither action is unconstitutional, but neither is representative of respectful or admirable behavior according to Justice Ginsburg. She soon retracted her statement, admitting that she spoke hastily and without full knowledge of the situation such that her comments were "inappropriately dismissive and harsh." Critics say once again that all judges, but specifically Supreme Court Justices, are in a unique position in this country to decide the constitutionality of certain conduct and laws, and hence should not be participating in off-the-cuff statements that expose their own personal views on certain subjects when these views are not related to their role on the bench. The fear seems to be that if Justices have personal opinions, they cannot be "impartial" as required by their judicial role, or at least, the fear that the public will know that Justices have a personal opinion on heated matters and perhaps the public does not want to know this. Perhaps the public prefers to believe that Justices view all world events impartially and without bias or personal opinion so that the public can also feel the Justices' role on the bench is more trustworthy and void of personal bias. But perhaps the public must learn to trust that people are people - whether a quarterback or a Supreme Court Justice - and all inevitably have personal opinions. But if a quarterback can take a knee to express his view, and still manage to play football like everyone else as it is his job, then just maybe a judge can have a personal opinion off the bench and still manage to do her job with exceptional impartiality.
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