Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of five pro-abortion members of the Supreme Court who are preventing any bill banning abortions from ever becoming law — and she announced today she has no plans to retire.
She gave Reuters an interview in which she rebuffed attempts by liberals to get her to step down from the high court while pro-abortion President Barack Obama is president and while a Democrat-led Senate would likely mean she would be replaced by another jurist who supports Roe v. Wade.
At age 80, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, says she is in excellent health, even lifting weights despite having cracked a pair of ribs again, and plans to stay several more years on the bench.
In a Reuters interview late on Tuesday, she vowed to resist any pressure to retire that might come from liberals who want to ensure that Democratic President Barack Obama can pick her successor before the November 2016 presidential election.
Political pressure is an age-old backdrop to Supreme Court appointments, and for Ginsburg it is likely to accelerate before the November 2014 congressional elections that could alter the Democratic dominance of the Senate.
Such talk is always subtle because a presidential administration never wants to be perceived to engage in politics over the judiciary given the bedrock American principle that separates the branches of government.
In her interview, Ginsburg referred to past liberal commentary and predicted, “That’s going to start up again.”
Brushing off political calculations, she said, “It really has to be, ‘Am I equipped to do the job?’ … I was so pleased that this year I couldn’t see that I was slipping in any respect.” She said she remains energized by her work as the senior liberal, a position she has held since 2010 when Justice John Paul Stevens retired, and calls being a justice “the best job in the world for a lawyer.”
She has previously said she wanted her tenure to at least match the nearly 23 years of Justice Louis Brandeis, which would get her to April 2016, and said she had a new “model” in Justice Stevens, who retired at age 90 after nearly 35 years on the bench.
Reinforcing the message that she might not leave before her health requires it, she mused of another former colleague, “I wonder if Sandra regrets stepping down when she did?”
In May, Ginsburg complained that the decision in the Roe v Wade case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions was too overreaching. She grumbled that it was decided in such a way that it made for an easy target for pro-life advocates complaining about its extremity. Ginsburg told students at Harvard earlier this year that Roe should have been argued incrementally.