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Justice Ginsburg Walks Back Criticism Of Colin Kaepernick's Kneeling

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., earlier this year.
Michael Dwyer
/
AP
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., earlier this year.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is walking back a critical comment she made about some NFL players for refusing to stand for the national anthem at football games.

In a recent book interview, Ginsburg was asked how she felt about the protest by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two of his teammates.

She replied that while entirely legal, she thought it was "dumb and disrespectful." But trying to make such protests illegal, she said, would be "dangerous."

"What I would do is strongly take issue with the view they are expressing," she said.

In response to press inquiries, Ginsburg released a statement Friday saying that in view of the fact that she had been "barely aware of the incident or its purpose," her comments were "inappropriately dismissive and harsh." Said the justice, "I should have declined to respond."

This summer, Ginsburg caused a far more serious stir and apologized after she expressed negative views about Donald Trump. She said then that judges should not make comments about political candidates.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.
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