Ginsburg Denies Request to Retire

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest Supreme Court justice at 80 and has twice beaten cancer, including of the almost always deadly pancreatic variety. But she has no plans to leave the bench despite pressure from some liberals who want her to retire while Obama can still name her replacement.

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.

I admire, as I always have, Ginsburg’s toughness. But it’s a hell of a risk. If a Republican wins in 2016, she would either have to wait until at least 2020 to retire, making her nearly 90, or even 2024. If she could not, she would be replaced by a Republican president and the effects would, as the last few years have made clear, be not just bad but probably catastrophic.

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  • gshelley

    I don’t t know that any Obama nomination would actually get appointed, but the earlier he gets to do it, the more chance. Certainly, anyone leaving the court at the end of the 2016 term wouldn’t get replaced, and probably not any time in 2016

  • Ed. She’s immortal. There can be only One.*


    * One Supreme Court Justice.

  • howard

    I admire her greatly. Her dissent on the Civil Rights Act ruling was a thing of beauty.

    I can see her holding out two more years, easily. Any longer than that… I just can’t fathom it. GWB’s appointments have left us with a legacy that will take decades of fighting. Maybe centuries. This is of so much importance… And Supreme Court appointments have proven to be one area where Obama DOESN’T just continue the policies of the GWB administration. (why, hello, NSA!)

  • Chiroptera

    gshelley, #1:

    I was thinking the same thing; while it’s true that Kagan and Sotomeyer were confirmed, Ginsburg may nonetheless feel that it’s a better bet to see what the Senate is like after the next election.

    On the other hand, maybe she’s thinking that the Supreme Court is supposed to be above partisan politics, so she will leave when she feels it’s time to leave, gosh darn it.

    Or maybe she’s not thinking about her potential replacement at all; she likes being on the Supreme Court, and she will leave when she feels it’s time to leave, gosh darn it.

  • Randomfactor

    I’d like to see President Clinton appoint Obama to fill Ginsburg’s seat. That is, if she’s willing to accept the nomination.

  • DonDueed

    Randomfactor: I see what you did there. See this nice internet? Yours.

  • Draken

    That would be sweet, a black president followed by a woman. The wingnut wing are going to need new underwear for twisting it too hard.

  • magistramarla


    I agree! That would be absolutely delicious.

  • iknklast

    I’d like to see President Clinton appoint Obama to fill Ginsburg’s seat. That is, if she’s willing to accept the nomination.

    Actually, I would rather see President Obama appoint Hillary Clinton to fill Ginsburg’s seat. I think it would be a better fit. Still, the Clinton appointing Obama thing does mean our next president would not be Paul Ryan or one of his clones.

    However, I don’t want anyone on the Supreme Court who thinks the things the NSA are doing are legal, or who is justifying spying, drone attacks, and other un-constitutional violations of our rights in the name of homeland security. I think Obama (and probably Clinton) should have given up all right to be on the court by their lack of concern over the constitution and its limitations on executive power.

  • Abdul Alhazred

    That would be sweet, a black president followed by a woman.

    Condi says she doesn’t want the job. 😉

  • thascius

    @10-Condi knows she’s nowhere near crazy enough to win the Republican nomination.

  • Francisco Bacopa

    If there’s any Obama/Clinton appointing. I think I’d rather see Obama appoint Hillary. Dems tend to win the White House with younger outsiders.

    Of course, there are no young outsiders in the Dems who seem to have a shot. The Castro Twins are too young. The Democrats played a long game by giving them keynote night at the DNC, but that was to get one of them to become governor of Texas and the other into the US Senate. Big buzz down here is State Sen. Wendy Davis. Again, a good candidate for Governor or US Senate, bad choice for president. Or is she?

  • eric

    Meh, what else is she going to say? Regardless of branch or position, 99.9% of all political office holders say that they have no intention of leaving the office…until the day they do.

  • D. C. Sessions

    There isn’t a snowball’s chance that any President, either party, will be nominating someone 70 years old to the Supreme Court within my — or likely, my children’s — lifetime. That went out the window with the Reagan/Bush/Bush tactic of nominating very young conservatives with as little paper trail as possible.

    You’re a lot more likely to see the next Republican nominee be someone who only graduated from Liberty Univerisity a few years prior and spent the intervening period as house counsel. Absolutely perfect ideology and zero paper trail — but young enough to be on the Court for fifty years.

  • DonDueed

    I think some of you may have missed a critical pronoun in Randomfactor’s suggestion. He has (Hillary) Clinton appointing Obama if SHE was willing to accept it. MICHELLE Obama, then.

  • Michael Heath


    I’d like to see President Clinton appoint Obama to fill Ginsburg’s seat. That is, if she’s willing to accept the nomination.

    And that’s the exact type of risky behavior that causes liberals to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Better to have an Obama nomination replace Ginsburg this term and work towards the next president also being a Democrat, and one who gets the opportunity to replace multiple conservative justices in the next presidential term(s).

  • CaitieCat

    Nice one, randomfactor. The racists would have a SHIT FIT: a Black woman AND a Latina on the Supreme Court at the same time? OMIPU they’d PLOTZ. Schvitzingly.

    What? So I was watching Fiddler, nu?

  • Nick Gotts

    Surely if Obama were the ruthless commie-Muslim liberal of wingnut paranoia, he’d have had several of the Supremes he inherited assassinated by now, so he could pack the court with his fellow Nazi atheist pagans?