June 25, 2022

PARTY OF YOUTH UPDATE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Unexpected Legacy.

Back in 2013, President Barack Obama met with Ginsburg, with hopes that the then-80-year-old, two-time cancer patient could be persuaded to retire:

Mr. Obama had asked his White House counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, to set up the lunch so he could build a closer rapport with the justiceaccording to two people briefed on the conversation. Treading cautiously, he did not directly bring up the subject of retirement to Justice Ginsburg, at 80 the Supreme Court’s oldest member and a two-time cancer patient.

He did, however, raise the looming 2014 midterm elections and how Democrats might lose control of the Senate. Implicit in that conversation was the concern motivating his lunch invitation — the possibility that if the Senate flipped, he would lose a chance to appoint a younger, liberal judge who could hold on to the seat for decades.

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But Ginsburg just wasn’t interested in retiring. After Ginsburg died in 2020, and President Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate replaced her with Amy Coney Barrett, many liberals realized Ginsburg had made a catastrophic mistake. By remaining on the court for another six or seven years, Ginsburg had denied Democrats their last, best chance to keep a majority on the Court that viewed the law the way she did.

As Christine Rosen wrote last year in her article headlined, “The Democratic Party’s Ice Floe Politics:” “The next time a Democratic politician makes an anonymous observation about the age or vigor of a colleague with whom they disagree, be skeptical. The remarks are made to reporters as if in sorrow, but the message is about as subtle as a shiv in the prison yard.”

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