U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn't going anywhere. After years of liberal leaders urging her to resign while President Barack Obama is still in office, Ginsburg said she's staying put because Congress wouldn't let the Obama administration appoint someone progressive enough in her place.
"Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have?" Ginsburg, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, said in an interview published by Elle Tuesday. "If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. [The Senate Democrats] took off the filibuster for lower federal court appointments, but it remains for this court. So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam…. I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can."
Liberal activists have long called on Ginsburg, 81, to step down while Obama is still in office to avoid having her retirement occur during a Republican administration likely to fill the vacancy with a conservative judge. Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
"Let’s speak truths: Ginsburg is a liberal; Democrats will more likely get a liberal confirmed, Republicans a conservative. If Ginsburg cares about her legacy and her vision for the country, she will step down," the New Republic wrote last year.
Ginsburg's fans, however, insist swapping her out with another Democratic appointee won't necessarily be in the best interest of progressive voters.
Amy Davidson, executive editor of NewYorker.com, applauded Ginsburg's reluctance to give up her post Wednesday. "The Court is, no doubt, an extremely partisan institution. But that doesn’t mean that its members are just pegs to be traded. The Court is also an institution where seniority matters. There is no Ginsburg whom Ginsburg is holding back," Davidson wrote.
Ginsburg, for her part, said she enjoys being part of a bench that includes two other female justices, the most ever. "They’re not shrinking violets. It’s very good for the schoolchildren who parade in and out of the court to see," she said of fellow justices Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan in the Elle interview.