When it was revealed that 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery to remove cancerous growths from her lungs last week — little more than a month after falling and fracturing three ribs — worried speculation grew among liberals about their beloved jurist’s continued health.
But while most Americans simply wished Ginsburg a full recovery, some liberals have grown increasingly frustrated that Ginsburg’s health is even still an issue of concern. They believe she should have retired years ago when former President Barack Obama could have replaced her with another liberal justice.
In November, following Ginsburg’s fall and rib fractures, leftist media outlet Mother Jones wrote of how dismaying the liberal cult of personality that arose around Ginsburg had become, particularly in light of the fact that it seemingly encouraged the elderly jurist to continue serving instead of stepping down during Obama’s tenure.
Bear in mind, the article, titled “What the Cult of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Got Wrong,” was written prior to the revelation about Ginsburg’s lung cancer. Its sense of urgency might’ve been greater if written today. Nevertheless, it duly noted that the aging jurist has already battled cancer twice, in 1999 and again in 2009, had a coronary stent implanted in 2014, and has fractured her ribs on multiple occasions.
Quietly urged to step down under Obama
While the Mother Jones article reflected upon the cultish devotion fans have developed for “the Notorious RBG,” it also pointed out that quiet efforts to convince her to retire began in 2011 during Obama’s first term, when Ginsburg was 78-years-old.
Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, who clerked for the late liberal Justice Thurgood Marshall, wrote of both Ginsburg and elderly liberal Justice Stephen Breyer: “Justices Ginsburg and Breyer have enriched the nation with long, productive, admirable careers. Those, like me, who admire their service might find it hard to hope that they will soon leave the Court — but service comes in many forms, including making way for others.”
Justice Marshall was forced to retire due to his health during the tenure of former President George H.W. Bush, and was replaced by the more conservative Justice Clarence Thomas. Kennedy observed, “If Justice Ginsburg departs the Supreme Court with a Republican in the White House, it is probable that the female Thurgood Marshall will be replaced by a female Clarence Thomas.”
Mother Jones noted that calls for Ginsburg’s retirement increased following Obama’s re-election in 2012, as did evidence that Ginsburg was a “mere mortal” and not the superheroine her liberal supporters made her out to be. Ginsburg’s speech is increasingly difficult to understand, she regularly falls asleep on the bench or at major events and appears more frail in general.
Now she may be replaced by Trump
Yet, Ginsburg quite obviously resisted the calls for her to step down. To this day, she maintains that she will keep working until she is no longer able to do so.
Mother Jones admitted that Ginsburg has done some good things for the liberal agenda during her years on the bench, but submitted that she was neither immortal nor irreplaceable, and lamented that the odds and “actuarial tables” were not in the elderly justice’s favor.
Considering the ramifications if President Trump is the one who ends up naming Ginsburg’s eventual replacement, Mother Jones concluded, “By refusing to gracefully transition off the court when Obama could have named her successor, she has raised the very real risk of her seat being filled by someone who will spend a generation trying to undo all she worked for.”
In the end, Ginsburg resisted the calls to step down during the Obama years, most likely taking a calculated risk that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and nominate her replacement. Ginsburg lost that gamble, and now her liberal fans are second-guessing her decision to continue serving now that a Republican is in the White House.