Democrats and liberals have a nightmare vision of the Supreme Court’s future: President Barack Obama is defeated for re-election next year and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 78 the oldest justice, soon finds her health will not allow her to continue on the bench.
The new Republican president appoints Ginsburg’s successor, cementing conservative domination of the court, and soon the justices roll back decisions in favor of abortion rights and affirmative action.
But Ginsburg could retire now and allow Obama to name a like-minded successor whose confirmation would be in the hands of a Democratic-controlled Senate. “She has in her power the ability to prevent a real shift in the balance of power on the court,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine law school. “On the other hand, there’s the personal. How do you decide to leave the United States Supreme Court?”
David Garrow, a Cambridge University historian who follows the court, said Ginsburg’s situation points to an institutional problem for the court, “the arguably narcissistic attitude that longer is better.”
They don’t come out and say it but the message is clear: WWTSBQ?