Update: Got a tweet this morning pointing out that Allegheny College made an award in 2014 to the “Women of the Senate” as a group and in quotes just like that. The previous year the college gave the same prize to Senators Feinstein and Graham. So Ginsburg was not introducing a category (women of the senate) into which she mistakenly placed Graham, she was giving the list of past recipients one of which was “Women of the Senate.” Here’s the quote punctuated in a way that makes more sense: “Let’s hope members of Congress, the members that Allegheny College has already honored—Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John McCain, the “Women of the Senate,” Senators Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham.”
She may be 84 but she wasn’t confused here, I was. I regret the error. Thanks to Tom Maguire for pointing it out to me.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Justice Antonin Scalia were honored Monday by Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. During a speech she gave at the event, Justice Ginsburg described Senator Lindsey Graham as one of the “women of the Senate.”
Justice Ginsburg gave a brief talk about civility and her friendship with the late Justice Scalia. She then made an implied contrast between the era in which she and Scalia were confirmed and the present day. “I thought back to the 1993 confirmation of my nomination to the court,” she said. She continued, “The hearing was altogether civil. The vote was 96 to 3. For Justice Scalia the vote was unanimous.
“Let’s hope members of Congress, the members that Allegheny College has already honored, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John McCain; the women of the Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham. Let’s hope that they and others of good will lead in restoring harmonious workways.”
Justice Ginsburg is 84 years old. There has been rampant speculation that either she or Justice Kennedy, who is 80, could retire during Trump’s term in office. Today, Bloomberg is reporting on some fresh speculation that Kennedy is getting ready to retire:
Kennedy has given no public indication of his plans, but he has drawn attention with a handful of semiprivate scheduling decisions. Perhaps most significantly, his next law clerk reunion will take place during the last weekend of June, offering the possibility that he will spring a piece of news on the gathering.
The timing is noteworthy because previous Kennedy reunions took place every five years, and this one comes four years after the 2013 event. In addition, it’s taking place at the end of June, just as the term concludes, rather than in mid-June like previous reunions.
Any vacancy in the court will put a serious strain on the civility Justice Ginsburg was talking about yesterday. Democrats have already embraced all-out obstructionism to President Trump, including a filibuster of Judge Gorsuch. That filibuster failed after Republicans used the nuclear option to confirm him with a simple majority. What will Democrats do next time around when a Trump nominee threatens to shift the balance of the court?