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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says NFL Player Colin Kaepernick’s Protest is ‘Dumb’

On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat down with Yahoo’s Katie Couric to talk about quite a few things, one being her thoughts on NFL player Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49er’s quarterback has gotten a lot of attention lately for choosing to kneel during the National Anthem at games in order to protest police brutality against black people—and other NFL players around the country have joined in. Ginsburg’s thoughts? “It’s really dumb,” but she “wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it.”

The Justice, now 83 years old, has compared Kaepernick’s form of protesting to flag burning. While she doesn’t believe a person should serve jail time for doing such a thing, she does think it’s a ridiculous form of protest, CNN shares. She believes that both acts are protected under the First Amendment, and does not think the Court should interfere as Kaepernick is only using his right to free speech.

This stance seems surprising, given that RBG has become a kind of icon for defending women’s rights. A book, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even capitalized on that reputation last year. Many think of Ginsburg as a liberal justice, and liberals have for the most part supported Kaepernick’s protest—so what gives? But a March article from Current Affairs points out that Ginsburg has never defended the rights of racial minorities with the same vigor with which she’s approached women’s rights, and that when it comes to criminal justice cases in particular, she almost always sides with police.

Along with their discussion of Kaepernick, Ginsburg and Couric also spoke about the upcoming election. Justice Ginsburg said she has no further comments about the candidates, and would not discuss the previous things she had said about Republican nominee Donald Trump. While she would not comment directly on Trump’s immigration plans, she did say that she is “sensitive to discrimination on any basis because I have experienced that upset,” mentioning memories of anti-Semitism. She went on to tell Couric, “I’m proud of the U.S. as a country that welcomes all sorts of people.”

Ginsburg also had kind words for Hillary Clinton, saying she is impressed with Clinton’s “knowledge,” “poise” and “command of language.”

The wrapped up the interview on the topic of Ginsburg’s retirement, to which the Justice reminded Couric that she can still do 20 pushups and is just as excited for the start of this term as she was her first. And lastly, no, she hasn’t seen Kate McKinnon play her on SNL.

If you’d like to know more, you can check out Justice Ginsburg’s book My Own Words and watch the full interview here.

Cara Milhaven is a sophomore studying communication at Villanova University. She is a contributing writer for Her Campus National as well as the Senior Editor of Her Campus Villanova. She loves caffeine, Christmas movies, fall, and Zac Efron.