‘Notorious RBG’ just earned her nickname in the eyes of fanatic leftists
Justice Ginsburg has rebuked the Democrat presidential candidates like Pete Buttigieg who have spoken about packing the Supreme Court by expanding its membership to 15, should Democrats win the presidency and Senate in 2020. She’s an old-style ACLU liberal, and understands a few things about political legitimacy that escape lesser minds like Buttigieg and Kamala Harris.
Speaking to NPR’s leftist court correspondent Nina Totenberg, Justice Ginsburg said a number of interesting things. Totenberg writes:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview Tuesday that she does not favor proposals put forth by some Democratic presidential candidates who have advocated changing the number of Supreme Court justices if the Democrats win the presidency.
Ginsburg, who got herself in trouble criticizing candidate Donald Trump in 2016, this time was critical not of any particular Democratic contender, but of their proposals to offset President Trump's two conservative appointments to the court.
"Nine seems to be a good number. It's been that way for a long time," she said, adding, "I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court."
Several Democratic candidates have indicated an openness, if they were to win the presidency, to adding to the number of justices on the Supreme Court to reduce the power of the current conservative majority. Some would also like to enact term limits for Supreme Court justices.
The term-limits proposal doesn't worry Ginsburg because she sees it as unrealistic, given that the Constitution specifies life terms for federal judges and because, as she puts it, "Our Constitution is powerfully hard to amend."
Ginsburg’s principal concern is protecting the legitimacy of the courts. She understands the fragility of the power of the judicial branch in a way that callow minds cannot grasp.
"If anything would make the court look partisan," she said, "it would be that — one side saying, 'When we're in power, we're going to enlarge the number of judges, so we would have more people who would vote the way we want them to.' "
That impairs the idea of an independent judiciary, she said.
"We are blessed in the way no other judiciary in the world is," she noted. "We have life tenure. The only way to get rid of a federal judge is by impeachment. Congress can't retaliate by reducing our salary, so the safeguards for judicial independence in this country, I think, are as great or greater than anyplace else in the world."
But the whole notion of the country's independent judiciary hinges on public trust, she noted.
"The court has no troops at its command," Ginsburg pointed out, "doesn't have the power of the purse, and yet time and again, when the courts say something, people accept it."
Ginsburg has dedicated her professional life, first as an ACLU attorney and later as a justice, to the proposition that wise judges – not voters -- should undemocratically change national policy – think mandating same-sex marriage, for example. This philosopher-king power, however, rests on the public’s acceptance of it.
By all reports, she is a graceful colleague to all of her fellow justices and was famously close to the late Justice Scalia. That collegiality helps reinforce the notion of wise Olympians dispensing just verdicts, even as they preclude voters’ power over those issues.
Alas, they aren’t making leftists like her anymore. The new crop are fanatics who see no limits on their quest for power and no legitimacy in anyone who disagrees with them.
Caricature by Donkey Hotey