Putting Justice Ginsburg out to pasture


She’s 81 and the survivor of not one, but two, major bouts with cancer — the first colon cancer and the second pancreatic. Some liberals concerned with the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court would like Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign by the end of the summer so that President Obama can replace her with another liberal judge.

She’s tempting the odds, Irwin Chemerinsky essentially wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times newspaper, pointing out that she needs to get out of the way while Democrats still control the U.S. Senate. That could change after this fall’s mid-term elections.

Chemerinsky and other liberals point out, if the GOP should take the Senate in 2014 and beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, the court will shift conservative. Then much of what Ginsburg stands for will be overturned.

“A great deal turns on who picks Ginsburg’s successor, says Chemerinsky. “There are, for example, four likely votes to overturn Roe vs. Wade on the current court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito Jr. If a Republican president selects Ginsburg’s replacement, that justice easily could be the fifth vote needed to allow the government to prohibit all abortions.”

It’s sad to watch people eat their young and send their old out into the snowstorm. Justice Ginsburg has been a loyal legal mind for the liberal approach. Now she’s just in the way.

Get out, they shout. You’re too old.

The rebuttal to that came swiftly from Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick: “Do Ginsburg’s critics think she has forgotten her age, or her medical history, or the date of the upcoming election? Do they expect her to answer blatantly political questions from reporters about the need for Obama to appoint her successor in blatantly political ways? She answers in riddles not because she is clueless but because to do otherwise would be absurd, and undermine the judicial branch, and her own integrity.”

Save this one clever dart: “There will be another president,” Ginsburg is largely staying above the fray, as you would expect this classy jurist to do.

Nevertheless, the wolves howl: “It damn better be a Democrat!”