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Will Ruth Bader Ginsburg retire before 2020?

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Politicians and journalists have been speculating about if and when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will retire for a decade now. The 85-year-old leftist judge fell at her office and fractured three ribs yesterday. She was admitted to the hospital today after initially going home first.

Before the fall, she had no intentions of retiring before 2020. Her clerks are slated to stay on until then. This latest in a long series of health concerns may have changed the calculus, but I doubt it. She’s the Supreme Court’s “Energizer Bunny.” She just keeps going and going and…

President Trump has nominated two Supreme Court Justices so far. With a solid majority in the Senate, Republicans are hopeful for one or more to retire soon. Left-leaning Justice Stephen Breyer is 80 and originalist Justice Clarence Thomas is 70. The other six Justices are all in their 50’s or 60’s.

Though Republicans will have control of the White House and Senate until at least inauguration day, 2021, their legitimate time frame to nominate a confirm a Justice is about 14 months. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland in March, 2016. At that time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to consider the nomination because it was a Presidential election year. Democrats had previously made similar claims that proximity to a change in power was grounds to delay confirmation until after the election.

If a spot opens any time after March, 2020, it would be political suicide for the GOP to confirm one of President Trump’s nominees after denying President Obama’s.

Nobody knows if she’ll retire in the next 14 months but her. I wouldn’t bet on it. She’s spent her entire life contradicting conventional wisdom. As partisan as she is, it’s unlikely she’d willingly leave the bench until a Democrat is in the White House.

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