Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem as a form of protest are "dumb and disrespectful," but protected by the First Amendment.
In an interview published Monday, Ginsburg was asked by Katie Couric of Yahoo News about the protests of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others who have kneeled or sat during the "Star Spangled Banner" to protest the treatment of black Americans by police.
“I think it’s really dumb of them," said Ginsburg, who is beloved many on the American left because of her liberal judicial opinions.
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” she said. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
Couric then asked the justice, “But when it comes to these football players, you may find their actions offensive, but what you’re saying is, it’s within their rights to exercise those actions?”
“Yes,” said Ginsburg. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Over the summer, Justice Ginsburg sparked controversy for what she later said were regrettable and "ill-advised" comments about Donald Trump.
“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she had told the New York Times.
“He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego,” she told CNN of the Republican presidential nominee, who then demanded she resign.
During her interview with Couric, she was also asked whether it would be legal to ban Muslims from entering the country, as Trump has proposed.
However, she declined to answer the question because it "could come before this court."
"I can’t answer a hypothetical question when it may turn into a real question. I can’t preview my decision,” she said.
Watch Ginsburg discussing Kaepernick here:
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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