"Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is an American Hero," reads the headline in the New Republic. But despite talking to an "American Hero," Jeffrey Rosen, the magazine's legal affairs editor, still wants to know whether the Supreme Court justice will hang up her robe.
JR: Speaking of retirements, there are some who say that you should have stepped down before the midterm elections. How do those suggestions make you feel and what’s your response?
RBG: First, I should say, I am fantastically lucky that I am in a systemwithout a compulsory retirement age. Most countries of the world have age sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five, and many of our states do as well. As long as I can do the job full steam, I will stay here. I think I will know when I’m no longer able to think as lucidly, to remember as well, to write as fast. I was number one last term in the speed with which opinions came down. My average from the day of argument to the day the decision was released was sixty days, ahead of the chief by some six days. So I don’t think I have reached the point where I can’t do the job as well.
I asked some people, particularly the academics who said I should have stepped down last year: “Who do you think the president could nominate and get through the current Senate that you would rather see on the Court than me?” No one has given me an answer to that question.
JR: Your health is good?
RBG: Yes, and I’m still working out twice a week with my trainer, the same trainer I now share with Justice [Elena] Kagan. I have done that since 1999.
Ginsburg gave a similar response when Elle magazine asked a similar question, in an interview published last week. "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. [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," Ginsburg told Elle.
Some liberals have been advocating for Ginsburg to retire so that President Obama would be able to nominate another (younger) Supreme Court justice.