Notorious RBG and an Independent Judiciary
Now, full disclosure: if you were to stroll down the halls of our law firm, you'd bump into a few card-carrying Republicans, but you would not likely find a Trump supporter among them. Nevertheless, we here at the Law Blogger do find it disturbingly distasteful whenever a SCOTUS justice speaks their mind about a sitting President or, more generally, partisan politics.
There are good reasons for that. The federal judiciary is designed to remain independent of the other two branches of government. Recognizing that partisan politics are alive and well at the High Court and throughout the federal courts across the nation, legal professionals still count on the judges assigned to their cases to bring an unbiased and neutral mindset to the decisions they make based on the evidence presented in the cases.
When justices speak out publicly, it shatters this illusion. Who could forget election night 2000 when Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the SCOTUS, infamously quipped that it was "terrible" that Al Gore was apparently heading for victory and then, months later, participated in one of the more historically partisan decisions ever to be issued by the High Court.
The code of judicial ethics only binds lower federal court judges; one tenet proscribes a federal judge from commenting on a presidential election. While this ethical code does not bind justices of the Supreme Court, there is nevertheless a powerful custom, usually observed by the justices, requiring them to maintain a safe distance from the partisan politics in which the other two branches marinate.
Predictably, Trump immediately called upon RBG to resign following her public commentary on his candidacy. Democrats have been calling for the 83 year old justice to resign since 2010, long before President Obama became a lame duck, now powerless to appoint a successor to the Notorious One.