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Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls national anthem protests ‘dumb and disrespectful’

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees with athletes’ right to protest but disagrees with the method they are using, calling it arrogant. (Robert Franklin / Associated Press)
By Cindy Boren Washington Post

As a legal scholar, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg supports the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes to protest racial injustice by refusing to stand for the national anthem. But personally? She doesn’t like it one bit.

“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg said in a Yahoo interview with Katie Couric. “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.”

Kaepernick started a trend by refusing to stand during preseason games to protest police killings of black men.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick the NFL Network’s Steve Wyche in August. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick continues his protest and other football players, high school athletes, WNBA and NBA players have since joined in, among other sports.

Ginsburg, of course, recognizes their First Amendment rights.

“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,” she said. “What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

Ginsburg found her outspokenness to be a problem over the summer, when she blasted Republican presidential nominee 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,” Ginsburg told The New York Times’ Adam Liptak and went on to call him a “faker.” “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be – I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

Trump responded that Ginsburg, 83, should resign because “her mind is shot.”

Ginsburg later said that she regretted her comments and promised to “be more circumspect” in the future.