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Stop Telling My Pretend Grandma Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Retire

Emily Bazelon at Slate writes an excellent article about how it's just counterproductive (not to mention a smidge sexist).

Only Ginsburg... seems to face the retirement music wherever she goes, forcing her to repeat her not-yet determination. Yes, she's older than [fellow Supreme Court Justice] Breyer, and yes, she did have early-stage colon cancer in 1999 and very early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009. But she's also a small, slender woman who speaks in low tones and looks like a bird. People tend to assume she is frail when in fact she is anything but. (The Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr exists to showcase her actual toughness.) All the "Ruth, haven't you had enough?" talk starts to seem a wee sexist.


It just strikes me as so, so reminiscent of that tired line of questioning about whether or not Hillary Clinton's "too old" to run for President in 2016. It's just incessant, and when one compares her to Joe Biden (who, don't get me wrong, I love very much as our country's collective, goofy but whip-smart uncle), a man who's actually significantly older than Clinton... people sometimes raise this question about him, but not with nearly as much frequency or intensity.

Bazelon also writes about how Ginsburg seems to be taking a long view of history, rather than a case-by-case or term-by-term one, believing that "justice will win out in the end—or that, if it doesn't, her departure at one point or another couldn't be the major factor." Bazelon agrees and adds that she thinks this focus on convincing Ginsburg to retire is just a kind of a displacement for liberals' general sense of powerlessness in our current political climate and our need to see SOMETHING accomplished. She concludes with the following:

Even if you think it's delusional to see the Supreme Court as anything but political, scolding Ginsburg about staying on isn't working. She has made it more than clear that she isn't going to retire because columnists and law professors think she should. Tell a strong woman what to do too many times, and she'll tell you (politely, if you're lucky) to stuff it.

I also like her ending thoughts about how, instead of complaining about how Ginsburg (and, to a lesser degree, liberal-leaning Justice Stephen Breyer, who is 75 and has served for 19 years) should retire, we should cultivate a more productive conversation about term limits for the Supreme Court in general... THAT'S something I could get behind that doesn't specifically focus on a lone, female Supreme Court Justice.

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