Ginsburg Won’t Resign, Notes Senate Kept Filibuster for SCOTUS Despite ‘Nuclear Option’

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted September 23, 2014 at 4:32pm

Ruth Bader Ginsburg sounds like she might have retired from the Supreme Court if Senate Democrats went a step further with the “nuclear option.”  

In an interview with Elle magazine , the 81-year-old associate justice pointed to the fact that filibusters of Supreme Court nominations are still allowed by the Senate.  

“Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have? If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court,” Ginsburg said, pointing to the change in procedure that “took off the filibuster for lower federal court appointments, but it remains for this court.” Democrats led by  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used the “nuclear option” last year to eliminate the 60-vote requirement for nominations for executive departments and federal judgeships, except for the Supreme Court.  

There were doubts at the time that Reid would have had the votes to take that additional step, given the power of the highest court.  

The maneuver did allow Obama and the Senate Democrats to overhaul much of the rest of the federal court system .  

In the new interview, it seems the continued possibility of just 41 Republican senators blocking a fellow liberal from succeeding her on the bench has crossed Ginsburg’s mind.  

“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, she said. “But now I can.”  

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