Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg Isn't Planning to Retire Before 2016

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has dropped another hint that she's not planning a strategic, pre-2016 retirement. 

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has dropped another hint that she's not planning a strategic, pre-2016 retirement: The justice believes that a Democrat will succeed President Obama when his second term ends. "I think it’s going to be another Democratic president," Ginsburg told The Washington Post in a lengthy profile, "the Democrats do fine in presidential elections; their problem is they can't get out the vote in the midterm elections.”

Ginsburg is one of the court's two older liberal-leaning justices, on a court teetering on the edge of leaning conservative. Given her history of cancer (she's had it twice), and her age (she's 80), some liberals have framed the prospect of a post-Obama Ginsburg retirement as an invitation to the Supreme Court apocalypse. But we've been over this before: Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not resign until she's good and ready to resign, so stop telling her what to do. Her decision, she's said repeatedly, will be determined by her ability to do her job well, and not by who's currently in the White House. Maybe she'll resign before 2016. Maybe not. Who knows? The only possible answer is Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself. Plus, Ginsburg is, in fact, irreplaceable on God's green earth, as evidenced by the rest of the Washington Post's completely delightful profile. Here are some highlights:

All the other liberal justices wanna be her: "'We all laugh about how fast she is. And her work is just awesomely good,' said Elena Kagan, who, at 53, is the court’s newest and youngest justice. 'In my book, she’s the consummate judicial craftsman, and I learn something from her every time we sit.'"

She can't cook: "She is so unused to the kitchen that when Marty was sick, a friend who brought her a pan of pasta had to warn her not to put metal in the microwave."

One of her 80-something friends regularly does splits at parties: The hostess, Winnie Klotz, a former dancer and for decades the photographer for the Metropolitan Opera, startles the gathering by grabbing her 84-year-old ankle and lifting it straight above her 84-year-old head. “Do I have your attention?” she asks. Apparently unsatisfied with the response, she slides into a split on the floor of Harry’s Roadhouse. Ginsburg says later: “She does that all the time.”

She loves the opera: "At night, there is always opera, which Ginsburg considers “the perfect art form,” and on this night, it is one that brings together Ginsburg’s worlds of law and culture." In the profile, RGB, who recently performed the first same-sex marriage of any Supreme Court justice, ever, was seeing Oscar, about Oscar Wilde's imprisonment on charges of “gross indecency.” There's even a new opera about her: Scalia/Ginsburg. Later, the post notes that "Ginsburg has often said she would have preferred life as a diva," if only she had the singing chops.

Fashion: "She slips into the grand, open-air opera house through a side entrance, dressed in an elegant black jacket appliqued with white silk leaves. A tiny figure, hair as always pulled straight back and secured with a scrunchie, she is dwarfed by her security entourage." The '90s are back. Scrunchies forever. RBG is a tastemaker.

Even Strom Thurmond liked her: "her key is on a plastic keychain with the words, 'With best wishes, Strom Thurmond.' The former segregationist and Dixiecrat from South Carolina was one of the 96 [Senators who voted her into office]."

So does Justice Scalia: "She has a public image of being dour, and, you know, she’s not like that. ... I mean, she can be tough; you don’t push her, especially on those issues she cares a lot about. But she’s otherwise a very gentle, likable and sunny person.”

Read the whole profile at the Post.

(photo: AP)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.