Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has no plans to retire anytime soon, it seems. The Notorious RBG has already hired on a group of Supreme Court clerks for the court’s 2019-2020 season.
Ginsberg is one of the court’s most liberal members, but she’s already 85 years old, and court watchers were hoping that she’d vacate her seat before she is forced to resign from the court because of ill health. But RBG has no intention, it seems, of being willingly replaced by President Donald Trump, so she’ll hold on as long as possible, even if that means being on the nation’s pre-eminent judicial body when she’s nearing 90.
“If Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016, liberal Ginsburg would likely have announced her retirement by this spring,” CNN reports. “Instead the justice who made her name as a women’s rights lawyer in the 1970s apparently is not counting on leaving the stage any time soon.”
If Donald Trump remains undefeated in 2020, Ginsberg will have to face an interesting choice: retire and hope that Republicans choose a more moderate member of the federal judiciary to replace her, or gamble on her health for another four years, delaying her retirement until well into her 90s.
It is a good bet, of course; Ginsberg has had two bouts with cancer, one in 1999 and one a decade later, and survived both. She gets regular checkups, CNN claims, and she has quite the workout regimen, which she says keeps both her mind and body in tip-top shape.
The future isn’t so clear for other Supreme Court justices. Both Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy have signaled a desire for a more permanent retirement from the bench, and replacing them would be more important than replacing the Notorious RBG. After all, even if RBG retires, Trump would likely have to pick a more moderate judge to replace her, to appease the Democratic senators he’d need to push the nomination through.
If swing vote Anthony Kennedy retires, and is replaced by a conservative, that permanently changes the court’s structure, and gives the edge to Originalists and Constitutionalists for the foreseeable future.