Bench Memos

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Justice Ginsburg: Chief Justice Roberts Was Right


Note to the Next Nominee: Stand your ground. Do not deviate from the Ginsburg-Roberts standard when the Judiciary Committee beats you up, demanding that you answer policy questions like a politician, or questions that could forecast how you might rule on cases that come before you.

Justice Ginsburg has now publicly said Chief Justice Roberts was correct when he refused to answer such questions:

“Judge Roberts was unquestionably right,” Ginsburg said. “My rule was I will not answer a question that attempts to project how I will rule in a case that might come before the court.”

Ginsburg said most judicial nominees have a record that can be examined for a peek at how they might rule. In her case, she was an appeals court judge for 13 years.

“I have a huge paper trail,” Ginsburg said. “If you want to get a picture of how I might be as a judge, there are hundreds of opinions and articles.”

“A judge on a collegial court should never forecast how he or she would vote on particular issues” because during the decision-making process a justice is exposed to briefs, lawyers’ arguments and discussions with other Justices, she said.


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