Former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the target of sharp criticism on Tuesday after a leaked Supreme Court opinion draft indicated that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
Chief Justice John Roberts later confirmed that the draft, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, is authentic.
What are the details?
Ginsburg was repeatedly pressured to retire when Barack Obama was president, thereby ensuring a left-leaning justice would replace her. But she refused to cave to political pressures. She passed away in September 2020, which meant then-President Donald Trump named her replacement: Amy Coney Barrett.
Now, critics of the forthcoming Supreme Court decision possibly overturning abortion precedents are blaming Ginsburg for the development.
Paul Quirk, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, told Newsweek that admirers of Ginsberg may have to reassess their admiration if Roe v. Wade is ultimately overturned.
“Who to blame, from a liberal or pro-choice perspective, could not be more obvious: The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Quirk said.
“As an octogenarian cancer survivor during President Obama’s second term, she rejected suggestions in 2014 and 2015 that she should retire to allow Obama to appoint her successor,” he added. “Obama notably refrained from putting pressure on her to do so. That Ginsburg’s failure to retire would lead to the overturning of Roe, among other disasters from her own standpoint, was not entirely foreseeable. It was, however, fairly likely. The overturning of Roe, and more to come from the current Court, may lead liberals to revisit the adulation that was showered upon Ginsburg at the time of her death.”
David Bateman, an associate professor of government at Cornell University, also told Newsweek the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned represents “the failure of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to prepare for the consequences of her mortality.”
Ginsburg, although she supported abortion rights, was a notorious critic of the Roe v. Wade decision itself. She once described the decision as “heavy-handed judicial intervention [that] was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”
What did Ginsburg say about not retiring?
In a 2014 interview, Ginsburg responded to critics who lamented her refusal to step down while a Democrat sat in the White House.
“Anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided,” she told Elle Magazine.
Ginsburg reiterated that sentiment one year before she passed.
“When that suggestion is made, I ask the question: Who do you think the president could nominate that could get through the Republican Senate? Who you would prefer on the court than me?” she said.