The Associated Press is reporting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told law students Friday there could be an opening on the Supreme Court soon but didn’t hint at who might be leaving.
Ginsburg, who spoke at New England Law’s annual “Law Day,” said the nine justices only take pictures together when a new member is added. “We haven’t had any of those for some time, but surely we will soon,” she said.
She did not elaborate and declined to take questions from reporters at the event.
Court watchers suggest Ginsburg, 88-year-old John Paul Stevens and 69-year-old David Souter are the most likely to retire.
This cryptic comment could mean nothing at all. But when I heard this I couldn’t help but think that the possibility of one of the justices stepping down or passing away was what kept so many of us working for John McCain despite wanting to throw a brick at the television every time he spoke.
One conservative friend of mine said offhandedly that if Ginsburg steps down it’s essentially a neutral move as it’s trading a liberal for a liberal on the bench. While I’ll agree that it’s not as bad as Scalia or Thomas stepping down because in that case we’d actually be losing a conservative and replacing them with a liberal. But it would hardly be a neutral move. It would be trading an old liberal for a young liberal who could sit on the bench for 30 years thus limiting our opportunity to ever flip the court to a pro-life perspective.