The Corner

Law & the Courts

A Ginsburg Mystery

Many liberals were urging Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to retire in 2013 and 2014. In July 2014, she gave an interview to Joan Biskupic in which she pushed back. Biskupic, then at Reuters, wrote:

Referring to the political polarization in Washington and the unlikelihood that another liberal in her mold could be confirmed by the Senate, Ginsburg, the senior liberal on the nine-member bench, asked rhetorically, “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?”

There were, at the time, 55 senators in the Democratic caucus. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, generally considered at least as liberal as Ginsburg, had been confirmed only five years previously. And even if Ginsburg had been replaced by someone a little more moderate than she was, it would have kept a conservative from filling the seat for many years. Maybe what her decision shows is that it’s always tempting for people to think they’re more indispensable than they are.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.