I used to start off considering an article such as this by noting that Supreme Court Justices generally don’t do many interviews, so when they do it must be something special. But we’ve been seeing more of them of late, and I’m left wondering what the driving factor was for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to sit down with the New York Times and begin dishing on her colleagues in this one. Over the course of the interview, though, she did cover two points of at least some interest. The first was a rerun of a subject we touched on here before, that being her intention to stay on the job no matter how many Democrats are trying to push her out the door while Obama can still name her replacement.
On Friday, she said repeatedly that the identity of the president who would appoint her replacement did not figure in her retirement planning.
“There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president,” she said.
She says she is cancer free and back to her normal routine – with the exception of water-skiing… “those days are over” – and that as long as her health remains good she’ll be sticking around. On the one hand, this could be taken as a mark in her favor, indicating a lack of interest in partisan divides and trusting in the office, rather than the occupant, to name a qualified replacement. But she’s clearly aware of the news of the day and may think she sees the chance to have her replacement named by the wife of the guy who appointed her. We may never know.
But she also slipped in a comment which doesn’t reflect well on some of her fellow Justices.
In wide-ranging remarks in her chambers on Friday that touched on affirmative action, abortion and same-sex marriage, Justice Ginsburg said she had made a mistake in joining a 2009 opinion that laid the groundwork for the court’s decision in June effectively striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The recent decision, she said, was “stunning in terms of activism.” …
She was especially critical of the voting rights decision, as well as the part of the ruling upholding the health care law that nonetheless said it could not be justified under Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.
In general, Justice Ginsburg said, “if it’s measured in terms of readiness to overturn legislation, this is one of the most activist courts in history.”
I don’t think we need a secret decoder ring out of a box of Fruit Loops to translate that one. There are clearly activist judges on the court… just not her, you see. I wonder what these people talk about in chambers when nobody’s watching? I’m just picturing Scalia walking by her office door and saying, “Nice interview.” and then mumbling something else a few feet further down the hall.