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Justice Ginsburg not retiring “anytime soon”

July 2, 2011
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At 78, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest sitting Supreme Court Justice.  She could elect to retire soon and allow President Barack Obama an opportunity to appoint another liberal justice, but she insists that she will not be submitting a retirement letter until she turns 82, the same age that Justice Louis Brandeis was when he left the court in 1939.  Justice Ginsburg, who is Jewish, wants to follow in the footsteps of Justice Brandeis, our country’s first Jewish justice.  Ginsburg has been in poor health, however.  She had surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer two years ago.  She was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, as the second woman justice, after Sandra Day O’Connor.  Some Democrats have voiced concern that if Obama loses his re-election bid in 2012, a Republican President would have an opportunity to replace the seat of a retiring liberal justice with a conservative, causing a marked shift in the balance of power on the Court. On the other hand, Justice O’Connor has expressed her regret at watching many of her decisions be dismantled after she retired.  With such an evenly divided Court, much is at stake.

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