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Opening Arguments

Hang in there, Ruthie

Heh. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has told all those who want to take her job to shove it, and the old, white men are not happy with her:

In deciding when to retire, Ginsburg, who is the eldest among the nine justices, should maximize the chance that her successor will be someone with her values and views. In March of this year, I wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times urging her to resign at the end of the term. My argument was that only by allowing President Obama to replace her in the summer of 2014 would there be a sufficient likelihood that someone of similar ideology would take the place of the 81-year-old justice.

If Ginsburg—nominated in 1993 by President Clinton—had stepped down this past summer, President Obama could have had virtually anyone he wanted confirmed. There is a clear Democratic majority in the Senate and little history of filibustering Supreme Court nominees. Besides, if Republicans tried a filibuster, the Senate could abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court justices, just as it did last year for lower federal court judges and presidential appointees to federal agencies.

But there is a significant chance that the Republicans will take the Senate in November. If they do, President Obama’s choices for the high court will be greatly constrained. There is no chance that a Republican Senate will allow a progressive, or even someone slightly progressive, to be confirmed. None. If a Republican wins the White House in 2016, then the soonest Ginsburg could be replaced by a Democratic president would be 2021, when she will be about to turn 88 years old.


I will give this to the Republicans for all their other failings. It is quite true that they probably wouldn't let someone even "slightly progressive" win the nomination. Of course, they're not likely to approve a young and feisty Clarence Thomas, either, but I guess I can't have everything.

This is one more reason to not stay home in November. If the GOP screws this election up given everything going against the Democrats, they will have earned forever the Stupid Party label.