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Volokh Conspiracy

RBG's Daughter: Justice Ginsburg did not "anticipate" that Republicans would block Garland

Jane Ginsburg talks to Emily Bazelon


Emily Bazelon published a profile in the New York Times Magazine about Justice Ginsburg. There were only a few new tidbits–specifically, Bazelon talked to Justice Ginsburg's daughter, Jane.

First, we learn that RBG did not "anticipate" that the Republicans would block Judge Garland's nomination.

Instead, Republicans blocked Garland, a move Ginsburg did not anticipate, according to her daughter, Jane C. Ginsburg, who is a law professor at Columbia.

I don't know what to make of this statement. McConnell and Grassley announced they would block Garland's nomination almost immediately. At what point did RBG think that the Republicans would not block Garland? Maybe RBG thought that the efforts to block Garland would fail? But the word "anticipate" doesn't make sense here.

Second, Jane Ginsburg confirms what RBG hinted at: that she wanted Hillary Clinton to replace her:

Then Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 presidential election, upending the gamble Ginsburg had taken. "I think that Mother, like many others, expected that Hillary Clinton would win the nomination and the presidency, and she wanted the first female president to name her successor," Jane Ginsburg emailed me on Sunday. When I asked if Justice Ginsburg reflected differently on her decision to stay after her cancer came back, Jane answered, "Not to my knowledge."

Ginsburg made similar comments in July 2016 to the AP:

In an interview Thursday in her court office, the 83-year-old justice and leader of the court's liberal wing said she presumes Democrat Hillary Clinton will be the next president. Asked what if Republican Donald Trump won instead, she said, "I don't want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs." That includes the future of the high court itself, on which she is the oldest justice. Two justices, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer, are in their late 70s. "It's likely that the next president, whoever she will be, will have a few appointments to make," Ginsburg said, smiling.