Supreme Court Justice and hero to women everywhere, Ruth Bader Ginsburg told AP reporter Mark Sherman that she doesn’t even want to think about Donald Trump becoming president.
At 83, Ginsburg is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court, and is known for her liberal — and feminist — slant on rulings coming out of the august judicial body.
During the interview on Thursday, Ginsburg also let slip that she thinks Hillary Clinton will take the White House in November — in which case, the new Madam President would have a number of new appointments to make to the Supreme Court.
When asked what she thought would happen if Donald Trump won the election instead, Ginsburg told Sherman:
‘I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.’
Although Ginsburg made no implication that she had any plans for retirement, two of the other justices, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer, are both in their late 70s. The liberal to conservative balance of the Supreme Court, and the potential to appoint several new justices, is one of the factors that makes the upcoming election so important.
During the interview, Ginsburg smiled and said:
‘It’s likely that the next president, whoever she will be, will have a few appointments to make.’
Ginsburg is currently taking a break after finishing a busy court season last week, and will be traveling over the summer. She discussed the recent court term, during which she lost a close friend, Justice Antonin Scalia. Despite the fact they each represented the opposite ends of the spectrum — Scalia a die-hard conservative and Ginsburg a stalwart liberal — the two had become close friends over their years together serving on the Court.
Since Scalia’s death in February, rulings out of the Supreme Court have leaned left, with only eight justices to rule on close to 60 separate cases. Ginsburg told the AP that two of the major cases adjudicated involved blocking tactics to suppress abortion rights and affirmative action in higher education. This includes the case in Texas where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of opponents to a bill that resulted in “undue burden” for women seeking abortions and clinics in the state that provide the service. Ginsburg told Sherman that she feels that the Supreme Court ruling will provide precedence for other states seeking the same kind of oppressive legislature:
‘It seemed to me it was a sham to pretend this was about a woman’s health.’
Ginsburg also explained the tone behind the opinion statement she issued regarding the case:
‘I fully subscribed to everything breyer said, but it was long, and I wanted something pithy.
‘I wrote to say, “Don’t try this anymore.”‘
President Barack Obama has nominated D.C. Judge Merrick Garland, who also aligns with the Democratic Party, to fill Scalia’s seat. However, Republicans in the Senate have refused to conduct hearings, schedule interviews, or vote on the appointment. Ginsburg told Sherman that even if the Senate confirmed the appointment after the election, it would be three months before Merrick would be able to sit in on any cases. She also said that if there was no Senate approval directly after the election, she thought the vacancy would remain until a new president was inaugurated in January.
Ginsburg also denied rumors that the court would be avoiding any major cases until Scalia’s replacement is confirmed. The justice told Sherman that the Supreme Court will be taking each case as it is presented. One major decision that Ginsburg said would be delayed was any challenge to the death penalty. Ginsburg said she joined Justice Breyer in an opinion to consider making capital punishment illegal, but she added that until the ninth seat is filled:
‘There are only two votes so far to have asked for it so I don’t think it’s likely, if there is such a challenge.’
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