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Justice Ginsberg Will Not Step Down From ‘One of Most Activist Courts in History’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 80, told Adam Liptak of the New York Times that she has no intention of stepping down from what she called “one of the most activist courts in history.”

The first Jewish female justice said Friday that she regretted joining a 2009 opinion that led to the courts decision this year to strike down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. She referred to that decision as “stunning in terms of activism.”

“If you think it’s going to do real damage, you don’t sign on to it,” she said. “I was mistaken in that case.”

The high court in general, Justice Ginsberg said, “if it’s measured in terms of readiness to overturn legislation, this is one of the most activist courts in history.”

The number of interviews Ginsberg has granted this summer has led many to suspect she is preparing to step down from her seat. If she did, President Barack Obama would surely replace her with another liberal justice. Ginsberg said she hasn’t planned her retirement around the whim of the president appointing her successor.

“There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president,” she said.

“I don’t see that my majority opinions are going to be undone. I do hope that some of my dissents will one day be the law.”

After two bouts of cancer, she is currently in good health. She said he advanced age has only made minor adjustments on her life.

“I don’t water-ski anymore,” she told the Times. “I haven’t gone horseback riding in four years. I haven’t ruled that out entirely. But water-skiing, those days are over.”

The court reconvenes Oct. 7 and she predicts more major decision will be handed down. She said the court would be wise to change speeds, move more incrementally and methodically.

She commented on 113th Congress, the least productive Congressional body in history, by saying simply, “Congress doesn’t seem to be able to move on anything.”

“In so many instances, the court and Congress have been having conversations with each other, particularly recently in the civil rights area,” she said. “So it isn’t good when you have a Congress that can’t react.”

Sources: ThinkProgress, New York Times


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