Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Merrick Garland Nomination and the Donald Trump Candidacy

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by Bill Clinton. Today, The New York Times (NYT) published portions of an interview with the 83-year-old Justice at the end of the term.


Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in February leaving the Court with eight members. Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace him, but the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to consider the nomination.

The term produced four major decisions which had to be, as the Court described, “affirmed by an equally divided Court.” In those four cases, the lower court decision stands until someday in the future when similar cases may arrive at the Supreme Court.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked “if the Senate had an obligation to assess Judge Garland’s qualifications, her answer was immediate.” According to NYT:

“That’s their job,” she said. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg also declared that Merrick Garland “would be a great colleague.” No other Supreme Court Justice has made a similar statement.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg complained that the Court would be affected for longer than the four year term of Donald Trump. The article continued:

It reminded her of something her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said. “‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” Justice Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.

Although NYT did not include the entire exchange, it seems from the surrounding analysis that Ginsburg was joking. NYT should have included the transcript.

Picture from 2015 interview with Bloomberg.