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viernes, 16 de marzo de 2018

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, oldest member of the Court, just turned 85

The most radically liberal member of the Supreme Court turned 85 on Thursday. Despite her age, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t appear to be entertaining retirement plans anytime soon.

The oldest member of the court and its longest-serving justice remains mentally sharp, and will continue rendering her famously divisive court opinions as long as she’s able, she says.

The elder justice

Just last month, Justice Ginsburg told an audience at Adas Israel synagogue in northwest Washington, D.C. that she wasn’t slowing down. The longest-serving Jewish justice told her co-religionists:

As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here.

But that is a frightening prospect for many conservatives alarmed by Ginsburg’s undeniably fringe opinions on many controversial subjects. For instance, in the landmark Gonzalez v. Carhart (2007) case upholding a partial-birth abortion ban, Ginsburg wrote a furious dissent.

She wrote:

Today’s decision is alarming…for the first time since “Roe [v. Wade]” the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health.

In candor, the Act, and the Court’s defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court — and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women’s lives.

Ginsburg also dissented in the famous Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) case; if it were up to her, companies would still be required to fund contraceptive care for their employees, regardless of their religious objections. In that case, Ginsburg claimed that the court ignored precedent, and “falters at each step of its analysis” in issuing its holding.

“The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield,” she wrote of the court’s decision to consider religious objections.

Mudslinging magistrate

But it’s Ginsburg’s outspoken behavior outside of the courtroom that has many Republicans openly looking forward to her eventual retirement. She publicly lamented Hillary Clinton’s electoral upset in 2016, pointing to “the macho atmosphere prevailing during that campaign” to explain the loss.

And during the polarized campaign season, Ginsburg told the New York Times, “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what this country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.”

Still, Ginsburg is perfectly aware that the judiciary should remain isolated from political discussions. Earlier this year, she voiced concerns that the federal judiciary may be viewed as just another political branch by U.S. citizens.

However, that didn’t stop the chief justice from nailing Trump to the wall in 2016, when she told the Times:

[Trump is] a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego… How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.

Later, realizing that she had overplayed her partisanship, Ginsburg walked back her denunciation of the soon-to-be president, but the damage was already done.

Liberal icon

Ginsburg’s meddling in executive and legislative affairs hasn’t made her any Republican friends, though she has solidified herself as a champion of extreme liberal pedantry.

Her status as a consummate progressive magistrate has likewise evinced obsessive fears concerning her health from Democrats. Even Ginsburg’s exercise routine — the “RBG Workout”— is the subject of public interest and has inspired a book written by her personal trainer.

At 85-years-old, Ginsburg doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

With crucial upcoming court cases approaching the Supreme Court docket, addressing First Amendment issues, states’ rights, labor laws and gerrymandering, Ginsburg will continue to be a liberal force with which to reckon.