Republicans Ask Justice Ginsburg to Recuse Herself From Abortion Cases

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:21pm EDT

( - A group of Republican congressmen are calling on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from abortion-related cases because of her close ties to NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

In a letter to Ginsburg, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and 12 other Republicans, including Reps. Dave Weldon and Sue Myrick, pointed to a March 11, 2004 LA Times report that said "in January, Ginsburg gave opening remarks for the fourth installment in the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture Series on Women and the Law."

"Two weeks earlier," the paper reported, "she had voted in a medical screening case and taken the side promoted by the legal defense fund in its friend-of-the-court brief."

"It is well known that NOW Legal Defense engages in active lobbying on behalf of pro-abortion activists and regularly submits briefs to the Supreme Court in a variety of cases," the congressmen wrote to Ginsburg. "As a matter of fact, an entire section of the NOW Legal Defense website is dedicate (sic) to cases that are heard before the High Court.

"Furthermore, the NOW Legal Defense homepage highlights your speaking engagement and pictures you next to the President of the organization, Kathy Rodgers," the congressmen wrote.

"Nevertheless you have continued to involve yourself with this legal activist group. Such a relationship casts serious doubts on the impartiality that is so important in judicial matters," they added.

The Republicans reminded Ginsburg of the federal courts' code of conduct that warns jurists to avoid outside legal activities that "would cast reasonable doubt on the capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before them."

They also pointed to a federal law that states a judge or justice "shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

"As legislators, we believe your actions call into question your ability to rule with impartiality on any case involving abortion. We, therefore, request that you immediately recuse yourself from any such cases," they concluded.

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