Ruth Bader Ginsburg pushes back against critics who say she should have retired under Obama

September 22, 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has long faced critics who say she should have stepped down while former President Barack Obama was in office. But according to CNBC, the 86-year-old Supreme Court justice isn’t buying it.

“Who would you prefer on the court?” Ginsburg shot back at detractors at a recent event in New York.

“Who would you prefer?”

Ginsburg was speaking with NPR’s Nina Totenberg when she described the criticism she’s faced from numerous pundits.

“It has been suggested by more than one commentator, including some law professors, that I should have stepped down during President Obama’s second term,” Ginsburg said. Those of that mindset would have preferred that Obama got the chance to appoint a replacement for Ginsburg, who has been a reliable liberal on the high court.

Some leftists have worried that if Ginsburg is forced to retire in the next several years, it will be a Republican — namely, President Donald Trump — who appoints her replacement, meaning conservatives could further solidify their majority on the bench. Trump has already appointed two conservative-leaning jurists: Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed early in Trump’s presidency, and Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed late last year.

“When that suggestion is made,” Ginsburg continued, “I ask the question: Who do you think that the president [Obama] could nominate that could get through the Republican Senate? Who would you prefer on the court [rather] than me?”

“Get up and go”

As Ginsburg implied, her supporters aren’t doing much supporting by making such assertions. But with four rounds of cancer under the 86-year-old’s belt, many are wondering how much longer she can keep up her work in Washington.

Indeed, Ginsburg is a survivor of colon cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 1999; pancreatic cancer, which she first had in 2009; and lung cancer, which she was treated for in 2018, according to NBC News.

Even as recently as this summer, Justice Ginsburg underwent radiation treatment for cancer on her pancreas. She is now said to be cancer-free, but that hasn’t stopped critics from asking questions.

Still, for her part, the justice has shown no signs of slowing down. Including time she took off in December 2018 while recovering from surgery, Ginsburg has missed just a handful of days on the court since she was appointed more than a quarter of a century ago.

What’s her secret? According to Ginsburg, it’s her active lifestyle.

“This is my fourth cancer bout,” Ginsburg said, according to Marketwatch, “and I found each time that when I am active I am much better than when I am just lying about feeling sorry for myself. The necessity to get up and go is stimulating,” she said.

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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut.