Ruth Bader Ginsberg was not the only justice to say things that caused Beltway heads to blush. From 1987:
Asked by Mr. Rowan to rate some of the Presidents and their impact on racial justice in his lifetime, Justice Marshall said:
”I don’t think Roosevelt did much for the Negro. But I think Truman is going to come out on top. Eisenhower I don’t think did anything, except to try to undermine the school decision – which he did. Kennedy was held back by the Attorney General, his brother. His brother said don’t do anything for the Negroes because you won’t get re-elected – wait until you’re re-elected and then do it. And then he got killed.
”But Johnson, his plans were unbelievable, the things he was going to do. But he was too far out for Negroes and civil rights. He wasn’t thrown out because of Vietnam; they just used that as an excuse to get rid of him.”
In response to a question from Mr. Rowan, he said he considered Johnson the greatest President in terms of civil rights.
Of President Carter, he said: ”I think his heart was in the right place. But that’s the best I can do with him.” Exchange About Reagan There followed this exchange:
Mr. Rowan: ”What about Ronald Reagan?” Justice Marshall: ”The bottom.” Mr. Rowan: ”The bottom?”
Justice Marshall: ”Honestly. I think he’s down with Hoover and that group. Wilson. When we really didn’t have a chance.”
Yet we’re supposed to cry about what Ginsberg said.