GINSBURG SPEAKS OUT
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday that people concerned about losing freedom to government anti-terrorism efforts should speak out.
The Supreme Court is taking up several terror-related cases this spring, including challenges to the government detention of terror suspects without legal rights.
Ginsburg, speaking to a group of women’s rights lawyers, was asked if people’s rights were in danger.
“On important issues, like the balance between liberty and security, if the public doesn’t care, then the security side is going to overweigh the other,” she said.
That would change, Ginsburg said, “if people come forward and say we are proud to live in the USA, a land that has been more free, and we want to keep it that way.”
I certainly don’t disagree with any of this. Of course, the trade-off between liberty and security has been perhaps the fundamental issue of politics going back to Plato’s time.
What’s interesting to me, though, is that Ginsburg seems to be defying the tradition that sitting justices don’t speak publically on issues before the Court. She’ll certainly be deciding cases on the Patriot Act and similar issues soon. I don’t find this problematic–the idea that Justices don’t bring their ideology with them to the bench has always been a sham–but it is at least noteworthy, especially given the recent controversies over Justice Scalia’s impartiality.