Even though the President of the United States is supposed to appoint Supreme Court Justices based on their judicial philosophy and not their politics, President Bill Clinton admitted this past week that he chose Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg due to her steadfast commitment to upholding abortion.
Speaking at Georgetown University Law School on Wednesday, the president said that protecting Roe v. Wade played a significant role in his selection of Ginsburg to the Supreme Court.
“There is one thing that we did discuss, and I feel I should tell you, because it will illustrate why I thought I should appoint her,” Clinton said, as reported by ABC News. “Abortion was a big issue in 1992 — the right to choose, I was one of the first pro-choice Democrats to run since Roe v. Wade, who actually benefited from Roe v. Wade. Now, she didn’t have to say anything about this. She knew this perfectly well that I was under a lot of pressure to make sure I appointed someone who is Simon-pure, which I had said was important.”
As noted by ABC News, almost no president has ever admitted to asking a potential Supreme Court nominee on how they would rule on an issue like abortion. In fact, when Justice Gorsuch was asked about such a meeting during his confirmation process, he said that would have “walked out the door” if President Trump pressed him to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Former President Clinton said he inquired with Ginsburg about the issue of abortion and admitted that his pick was “clearly pro-choice” after nominating her.
“I asked her the question and she talked about it just as if it was any other issue, no effect, this is what I think, this is why I think it. And she made a heck of a case,” Clinton said.
National Review noted that Bill Clinton’s frank admission about how he selected Ginsburg suggests she may have lied during the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing when she said it was inappropriate for anyone to ask how a judicial nominee would rule on a specific case.
“It is inappropriate, in my judgment, to seek from any nominee for judicial office assurance on how that individual would rule in a future case,” she said. “That judgment was shared by those involved in the process of selecting me. No such person discussed with me any specific case, legal issue or question in a manner that could reasonably be interpreted as seeking any express or implied assurances concerning my position on such case, issue, or question.”
Ginsburg’s pro-abortion record on the Supreme Court is well-documented and often goes beyond legal jurisprudence and into ideological statements about sexism and gender politics, such as when she accused her male peers of sexism in the Hobby Lobby ruling.
“Do you believe that the five male justices truly understood the ramifications of their decision?” Katie Couric asked Ginsburg in light of the ruling.
“I would have to say no,” she replied. “But justices continue to think and can change. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow.”