The makeup of the national judiciary remains a potent way for the Trump administration to shape the nation for years to come. Just recently, with the resignation of Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court, Donald Trump got to choose a second nominee for the body, Brett Kavanaugh. In the wake of that nomination, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has asserted that she’s not giving up her seat anytime soon.
At one point while speaking recently in New York, shesaid:
‘I’m now 85. My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.’
She was speaking in New York following a performance of a play honoring the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was a conservative.
Despite the two’s divergent views, Ginsburg praised Scalia for the sharpness of his arguments, which she said helped her refine hers at times.
As she put it:
‘If I had my choice of dissenters when I was writing for the court, it would be Justice Scalia… Sometimes it was like a ping-pong game.’
Scalia passed away in early 2016, leaving a vacancy on the nation’s highest judicial body that Congressional Republicans refused to allow then-President Obama to fill. Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the body, but the GOP claimed without precedent that a president so close to the end of their tenure should not nominate Supreme Court justices.
Less than a year after Scalia’s death, Donald Trump took office as president, eventually nominating Neil Gorsuch to Scalia’s old position with the court. Gorsuch was confirmed, and — despite the fact that the GOP had gifted the vacancy to him on a metaphorical platter — Trump touted his placement of a Supreme Court justice as a major victory of his early time in office.
Ginsburg has, in the past, expressed her opposition to Trump and his modus operandi. At one point in 2016 — before Trump’s election — she roundly condemned him, saying:
‘He is a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.’
Trump, in response to some of her criticism, demanded that Ginsburg resign, quipping that her “mind is shot.”
Ginsburg has proven to have no intention of going along with Trump’s direction.
She has already hired law clerks for terms stretching into 2020. The famous justice could outlast Trump, especially if he loses his re-election bid when that year rolls around.
In the time she’s been in her present position, she’s established herself as a champion of women’s rights, voting rights, and the like. For instance, in 1996 she wrote the court’s ruling demanding the Virginia Military Institute admit women, and more recently, in 2013, she dissented when the court struck down a major portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, among many other examples.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to limp along in his efforts to enact his twisted policy vision. It’s not even a given that Kavanaugh will be confirmed to join the Supreme Court, although the current GOP control of Congress makes it more likely. Still, a Quinnipiac poll revealed recently that around 41 percent of Americans believe the Senate should strike down Kavanaugh’s nomination — a number one point ahead of the portion of Americans who believe he should be confirmed.
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