Following the tense confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called for the hearings to return to bipartisanship.
In a moment during a speaking engagement at George Washington University on Wednesday, Ginsburg reflected on her nomination process, in which she was confirmed with a 96-3 vote in 1993. "The way it was was right," she said, the Washington Examiner reports. "The way it is is wrong."
On Justice Antonin Scalia, she said he was “certainly a known character,” but was confirmed unanimously. “He had been a law professor and written many things; he had been on the D.C. Circuit,” she said. “The vote was unanimous. Every Democrat and every Republican voted for him.”
Ginsburg also pointed out Justice Stephen Breyer was confirmed a year after her with a 87-9 vote.
“But that’s the way it should be instead of what it’s become — a highly partisan show,” she said. “The Republicans move in lockstep, so do the Democrats.”
Ginsburg said not a single senator asked her about her time at the ACLU. “My White House handlers asked me questions about my ACLU affiliation,” she said. “They were very nervous about it. And I said forget it, just forget it. Nothing you can do would lead me to badmouth the ACLU. And not a single question — no senator asked me any question, not about that.”
In contrast, the questioning of Kavanaugh focused intensely on his work history at the White House and at other places of employment.
“I wish I could wave a magic wand and have it go back to the way it was,” she added.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said he agreed with Ginsburg in a tweet. “Agreed,” he wrote, “Back when it was about qualifications and judicial philosophy, not about which dishonest smear could get the most retweets.”
The confirmation of Kavanaugh has become so politicized that moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins said groups have attempted to bribe her to vote against his confirmation. Activists also reportedly sent 3,000 coat hangers to her office in protest.