interview with Elle, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg held forth on Justice Anthony Kennedy's helping restrict abortion rights, the impact of such restrictions on poor women, and her determination not to resign while President Obama is still in office:
ELLE: You’ve said that the symbol of the U.S. shouldn’t be an eagle but a pendulum. It seems to me that the pendulum has swung in a very conservative direction for women’s rights, but not for gay rights. Why?
GINSBURG: To be frank, it’s one person who made the difference: Justice [Anthony] Kennedy. He was a member of the triumvirate used to [reaffirm] Roe v. Wade in the Casey case, but since then, his decisions have been on upholding restrictions on access to abortion...
ELLE: Fifty years from now, which decisions in your tenure do you think will be the most significant?
GINSBURG: Well, I think 50 years from now, people will not be able to understand Hobby Lobby. Oh, and I think on the issue of choice, one of the reasons, to be frank, that there’s not so much pro-choice activity is that young women, including my daughter and my granddaughter, have grown up in a world where they know if they need an abortion, they can get it. Not that either one of them has had one, but it’s comforting to know if they need it, they can get it.
The impact of all these restrictions is on poor women, because women who have means, if their state doesn’t provide access, another state does. I think that the country will wake up and see that it can never go back to [abortions just] for women who can afford to travel to a neighboring state…
ELLE: I’m not sure how to ask this, but a lot of people who admire and respect you wonder if you’ll resign while President Obama is in office.
GINSBURG: Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have? If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. [The Senate Democrats] took off the filibuster for lower federal court appointments, but it remains for this court. So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam…. I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can.