Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says Immigration Makes U.S. Great

  • Gorsuch ‘very easy to get along with,’ liberal justice says
  • She says she wants to continue serving as long as she’s able

Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t mention President Donald Trump or his immigration policies in a public appearance Thursday. She didn’t need to.

The liberal U.S. Supreme Court justice, who last year called then-candidate Trump a "faker," hailed the country as one made great by immigration, diversity and free speech, and suggested the U.S. was losing sight of some of its core values.

"We are not as mindful of what makes America great," she told an audience at George Washington University in Washington.

Ginsburg spoke blocks away from the White House, where Trump has ordered stepped-up deportations of undocumented immigrants and tried to put in place a temporary travel ban for people from seven mostly Muslim nations. Those efforts ultimately could become the focus of Supreme Court fights.

The 83-year-old justice recalled the “America first” movement that tried to keep the U.S. out of World War II in the 1930s and 40s. That was a time when “anyone who wasn’t born and bred in the USA was considered an outcast,” she said.

‘Welcoming All People’

But she characterized that attitude as an anomaly in a national history marked by “welcoming all people,” rather than exclusion.

“I am the beneficiary myself of my father being able to leave the Old World where the conditions were not good to come here and make a living and raise a family,” Ginsburg said. “That is America to me.”

Trump has adopted the slogan “America first” for his approach to trade and international relations.

Ginsburg had nice words, though only a few, when asked about Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee to fill the year-old Supreme Court vacancy. She said she got to know Gorsuch two years ago during a judicial trip to the U.K.

“He’s very easy to get along with,” Ginsburg said. “He writes very well.”

Trump called on Ginsburg to resign after she made the “faker” comment during the campaign, and Ginsburg later said she regretted the remarks. In her appearance Thursday said she had no intention of leaving the court anytime soon.

“I will do this job as long as I can do it full speed, and when I can’t, that’ll be the time I will step down,” Ginsburg said.

Separately, in an interview with the U.K.’s BBC Television, Ginsburg said the U.S. isn’t “experiencing the best of times. But there is hope in seeing how the public is reacting to it. The women’s march -- I have never seen such a demonstration -- both the numbers and the rapport of the people in that crowd. There was no violence, it was orderly.”

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