Despite ever-increasing number of people calling on her to resign, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remains one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s best jurists and one of the country’s finest legal minds.
At 81, Ginsburg is the oldest of the Supreme Court’s nine members and has been since Justice John Paul Stevens left the Court in 2010 at the age of 90.
Stevens, in fact, told ABC’s “This Week” earlier this week that Ginsburg asked him for advice about whether she should retire, given that many prominent Democrats have said she should do so while Democrats have both the presidency and the Senate majority. This is a strategic move in order to ensure the Court doesn’t swing even further to the right than it has already.
Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick calls Ginsburg “irreplaceable,” and she’s right. I’m actually now convinced that Beyoncé’s hit song “Irreplaceable” is about Justice Ginsburg — why else would “to the left, to the left” be the refrain?
Ginsburg’s naysayers are just looking out for the future of their party, but that doesn’t absolve them of their short-sightedness.
She might not be in the best of health, but she’s tougher than nails and boasts the most colorful résumé of any current justice: Chief Justice John Roberts comes from a private corporate law background, Justice Stephen Breyer from administrative law and Justice Elena Kagan from the world of academia.
Justice Samuel Alito was a prosecutor and federal judge, as were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor and Anthony Kennedy.
Ginsburg, who will be visiting ASU in a few weeks, was the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement: she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project and served as general counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she helped to develop and execute a legal strategy to get the Court to declare laws discriminating against women to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. She went on to serve as an appeals court judge before being elevated to the Supreme Court in 1993.
Since joining the Court, Ginsburg has served the country and her party faithfully and well. Whenever she leaves the Court, it should be her decision entirely and not made to mollify Democratic party hacks in order to make sure President Obama will be able to name Ginsburg’s replacement.
Were she to retire tomorrow, Democrats could only hope to get an intelligent yet undistinguished center-left candidate through the Senate without provoking a filibuster — this would only be a hollow victory and a poor replacement for the woman who has brought (and continues to bring) so much to the bench.
Until she steps down, I, and many others, will continue to lead a Ruth Bader Ginsburg-appreciation life.
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