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Memo to Justice Ginsburg: Stay Put

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There is scuttlebutt going around inside the Beltway that liberals are pressuring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 78, to retire now, lest President Obama lose next year and a Republican successor might have the opportunity to appoint a (presumably conservative) replacement.

I have disagreed with Justice Ginsburg in most of her votes in criminal cases, including her disastrous votes in both halves of Booker, first finding that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines did not survive the reasoning of Blakely, and then switching sides to implement a remedy of "advisory" guidelines.  I have explained the calamitous results of that remedy here.

Having said that, Justice Ginsburg is a person of principle.  She takes law, and the idea of law, seriously, for however much conservatives disagree with most of her outcomes.  She is also a person of courage, having battled an exceptionally deadly form of cancer.  And she is a person of strength, belied by her seemingly frail build.

The pressure for her to resign is creepy and classless, as Yale law professor Stephen Carter explains in this piece.  I hope she resists, and I'm reasonably confident she will. 

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My favorite Ginsburg opinion is her concurrence in the judgment in Montana v. Egelhoff, the "too drunk to form intent" case.

Disclosure: This assessment is somewhat less than completely objective. Four justices agreed with the State. Four agreed with the defendant. Justice Ginsburg agreed with me.

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