Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a reliable activist for left-wing extremism on the Supreme Court ever since she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993.
But Ruth is now old and frail (78, cancer survivor), and her fans on the left are getting worried. They might or might not be concerned about Ruth's personal well-being per se, but if she lives just a bit too long, things certainly could get ugly for the left. Here's a look at what's at what could happen in the near future, from the left-wing perspective:
- Best case scenario: Ginsburg retires now and Obama replaces her with a younger liberal → Cool, no worries!
- Almost as good: Ginsburg dies soon and Obama replaces her with a younger liberal → So sad… but cool, no worries!
- An acceptable but stressful scenario: Ginsburg refuses to respond to pressure from her left-wing comrades and she stays on the Supreme Court. However, detached from reality, Americans reelect Obama in 2012 → Liberals heave a collective sigh of relief and continue to pressure Ruth to retire (or hope for her to expire) before the end of Obama's second term.
- Massive headaches: Obama's 2012 prospects darken, but Ginsburg steadfastly refuses to retire → Liberals pray to Anubis for a timely journey to the afterlife.
- Doomsday scenario: Ginsburg stays on the Court, Obama loses in 2012, then Ginsburg dies or retires before 2016. A Republican appoints a conservative to replace Ginsburg. The world as we know it ends a few months later.
To be fair, we shouldn't assume that leftists want Ruth to die soon. They simply don't want the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court to be changed by the will of the voters in 2012. If Ruth "selfishly" decides to stay on the Supreme Court, she's a ticking time bomb for the left.
Apparently apropos of nothing in particular, the New York Times has now started the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Death Watch™:
Democrats and liberals have a nightmare vision of the Supreme Court's future: President Barack Obama is defeated for re-election next year and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 78 the oldest justice, soon finds her health will not allow her to continue on the bench.
The new Republican president appoints Ginsburg's successor, cementing conservative domination of the court...
Whatever you choose to do with your days on this earth, don't put the left-wing statist agenda in jeopardy with your very heartbeat:
There are few more indelicate questions to put to a Supreme Court justice, but Ginsburg has said gracefully, and with apparent good humor, that the president should not expect a retirement letter before 2015.
...some on the left say that the focus on the personal is misplaced. Ginsburg needs to put self-interest aside and act for the good of the issues they believe in, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy wrote recently. Kennedy said 72-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer should leave, too.
For good measure, left wing activists accuse Ginsburg of harboring a "narcissistic attitude" for wanting to keep her job:
David Garrow, a Cambridge University historian who follows the court, said Ginsburg's situation points to an institutional problem for the court, "the arguably narcissistic attitude that longer is better."
The longest-serving justice, William Douglas, was on the court for more than 36 1/2 years, reluctant to retire even after a debilitating stroke. "History teaches us that often longer is not better," Garrow said.
Translation: "Don't be an idiot, Ruth. Pay attention to history and get out of the way!"
UPDATE: Welcome aboard, TOM readers!