US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday that she regrets criticizing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in a series of recent interviews.
“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them," Ginsburg said in a statement. "Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future, I will be more circumspect."
She had told the New York Times in an interview that she couldn't "imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president."
The next president stands to appoint several justices - who serve for life - to the nine-member court. Both centre-right Republicans and centre-left Democrats have sought to make the direction of the court a political issue.
"For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that," said Ginsburg, 83, who herself could be replaced by the next president.
Ginsburg, a left-leaning justice appointed by former president Bill Clinton, even joked about moving to New Zealand if Trump were elected and later doubled down on her remarks, calling him a "faker" who frequently changes positions in a CNN interview.
The remarks had drawn sharp criticism not only from Trump, but also from outside observers who note that justices are expected to remain above the political fray and could be faced in the future with decisions involving the election or candidates.
It is rare for Supreme Court justices to give media interviews and even more unusual for them to comment on political issues.