The XX Factor

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Disses Trump, Hints She Wants Clinton to Name Her Successor

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg greets President Barack Obama at the 2016 State of the Union address.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be irreplaceable, but she’s also a pragmatist—and it appears that she has mapped out her eventual exit from her beloved court. In a July 7 interview with Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Ginsburg said she presumes Hillary Clinton will be elected president in November. When asked about the possibility of Donald Trump assuming the presidency instead, Ginsburg responded, “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.” The justice then acknowledged that the future of the court will be decided by the next president:


“It’s likely that the next president, whoever she will be, will have a few appointments to make,” Ginsburg said with a smile.

Sherman notes that Ginsburg “didn’t sound as though she is preparing to step down soon,” so her retirement is by no means imminent. The 83-year-old justice, Sherman adds, “shows no signs of slowing down” after a successful term during which Ginsburg authored several influential majority and concurring opinions. Ginsburg spoke to Sherman about her most widely read opinion this term—a two-page concurrence she attached to Justice Stephen Breyer’s majority opinion striking down Texas’ draconian abortion regulations. In it, she declared that it was “beyond rational belief” that the Texas law “could genuinely protect the health of women,” while it was “certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.”

“It seemed to me it was a sham to pretend this was about a woman’s health,” Ginsburg elaborated on Thursday. “I fully subscribed to everything Breyer said, but it was long and I wanted something pithy,” she said. “I wrote to say, ‘Don’t try this anymore.’ ”