GInsburg Glad She’s No Longer Confused with O’Connor, Says She’s “OK this year”

December 17th, 2013

From a keynote RBG gave in Virginia:

Lawyers who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court would sometimes confuse Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the two first women to preside on the nation’s high court, Ginsburg said Tuesday.

“Every year Sandra and I served together, someone would call me Justice O’Connor because they heard a woman’s voice,” she said at a breakfast this morning hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, at which she was keynote speaker.

Today, with three women on the court—Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in addition to Ginsburg—that doesn’t happen anymore, she said.

“No one calls me Justice Sotomayor and no one calls Justice Kagan Justice Ginsberg,” she said. “It’s an exhilarating change. It’s wonderful for schoolchildren who come though to see women are there.”

And, at some point, a women’s restroom was installed in the robing room.

The first sign that women were there to stay, she said, was when the court renovated the justices’ robing room after her arrival to add a women’s restroom. Previously, there was only a men’s restroom and O’Connor, the first female justice, had to return to her chambers to change.

And RBG shows no hints of retiring:

When asked about retirement, she said justices should stay “as long as she can do the job full steam. Can you think and write with the same fluency? At my age, you take it year by year. I’m OK this year.”

I’m confused. Why do they need to put a robe on in a restroom? Don’t they just take the robes on and off?

Update: TPM has the full RBG discussion. She said that “Supreme Court justices should work as long as they can and shouldn’t manipulate their retirement so a like-minded president can appoint their successor.”

Some liberals have recently called on the 80-year-old Ginsburg to retire so that President Barack Obama can choose her replacement. If she stays beyond his term, it would leave open the possibility that a Republican would name the liberal justice’s successor.

But Ginsburg, the oldest justice on the court, cited Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall as two justices appointed by Democratic presidents who left their replacement to Republican successor presidents. Ginsburg said she supposed many people wanted both men to leave when a Democrat was president, but she noted that neither did.

Brennan was appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower and announced his retirement in 1990 at the age of 84 for health reasons. Marshall retired in 1991 at the age of 82. George H.W. Bush chose David Souter and Clarence Thomas as their respective successors.

Ginsburg made the comments during an event hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. She was responding to a question by moderator and former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, who served as solicitor general from 2001 to 2004 under President George W. Bush. Olson asked whether justices should time their retirements so that a president of the same party that appointed them could choose their successors.

“I think one should stay as long as she can do the job,” Ginsburg said in response.

Ginsburg said the “number one” question a justice should ask is “Can you do the job?”

“Can you think as well? Can you write with the same fluency? At my age you take it year by year. I’m OK this year,” she said, to applause.


In any event, we won’t have a Justice Pillard while we have a Justice Ginsburg. And, if we have a Justice Ginsburg for some time, we may never even have to consider a Justice Pillard. And that’s why so many are so eager for Justice Ginsburg to become retired Justice Ginsburg.