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Ruth Bader Ginsburg's voice on the Supreme Court is more emphatic than ever



The emphasis of the 86-year-old "Notorious RBG" is on the here-and-now, not the proverbial "long game" played by some colleagues like Chief Justice John Roberts taking incremental steps toward major decisions and ideological battles

At her age, she assesses that each year: "I was OK this last term, I expect to be OK next term and after that we'll just have to see." Earlier this session, Ginsburg was missed for the first time in her tenure, two weeks of oral arguments as she recovered from cancer surgery.

Ginsburg is also plainly laying groundwork for what's next on the liberal wing. closely watched cases this session she assigned younger colleagues to speak for the left. Her earlier pattern as the senior liberal, since 201

0, had been: she wrote, they signed. Now, when Ginsburg so chooses, the pattern is reversed.

She gave Elena Kagan the responsibility for the dissent in a major partisan gerrymandering dispute and in a case involving a property owner's challenge to the court precedent on land regulation. She had Stephen Breyer who wrote the opinion for liberals in the dispute over a citizenship question on the 2020 census. (Ginsburg and the other judges on the left went further than Roberts, who wrote the main decision keeping the question off the census form, trying to invalidate the actions of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for the decennial count.)
Kagan and Breyer the most powerful counterpunch this term to the Supreme Court's conservative majority's reversal of decades-old precedents. As Ginsburg's Gentleman and Ginsburg joined in May and June, their question is: What's Next?

Ginsburg's in-this-moment approach and continued tenure on the nation's highest court matter. If she was to retire, President Donald Trump could have a chance to name a third conservative lawyer. And Trump would not be a conservative conservative for conservatives, as he did in 2017 and 2018, but a conservative for a liberal icon. The result would be more heavily tilt the bench to the right, affecting dilemmas from women's reproductive rights to government's regulatory power

 Justice Elena Kagan uses Spider-Man to warn the Supreme Court's "great responsibility" ; to follow precedent

Less likely to compromise

Overall, Ginsburg has become more entrenched on the left and more unequivocal in her opinions. Separating herself from Kagan, age 59, and Breyer, 80, Ginsburg is unlikely to compromise with any of the five conservatives on this tightly divided court

For example, she was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, age 65 and fourth liberal, as she disagreed with the majority's decision allowing a 40-foot high war memorial cross on public land in Maryland.

Ginsburg took the rare, dramatic step of reading the portions of her statement from the court's mahogany bench.

"The Latin cross is the foremost symbol of the Christian faith, embodying the central theological claim of Christianity: that the son of God died on the cross, that he rose from the dead, and that his death and resurrection offer the possibility of eternal life, "Ginsburg declared in the case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association, allowing the mammoth 1925 Bladensburg Peace Cross to stay in place.

"By maintaining the Peace Cross on a public highway," she added in her written opinion, "[government] elevates Christianity over other religions and religions over nonreligion. "

Ginsburg earlier in the year wrote in an Indian abortion dispute, as colleagues compromised to resolve a couple of state appeals without oral arguments. She highlighted the bigger constitutional issue, as the majority of them reinstated an Indiana law that required the abortion providers to dispose of fetuses in the same way as human remains, either with burial or cremation

The regulation, she wrote, could threaten the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the state. "

Ginsburg's public conversation with a Duke law professor Wednesday night was one of several appearances she had made in recent weeks, along with a mid-June Broadway jaunt and a mid-July trip to Lisbon, Portugal

Visiting Broadway, Ginsburg saw "What the Constitution Means to Me", and plays by Heidi Schreck that traces women's rights in America through Schreck's personal experience (beginning as a student debater) and national political events
On the trip to a legal conference in Lisbon , Ginsburg was joined by Justice Sotomayor and retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens died soon after, on July 16.
Ginsburg recounted at Stevens' Tuesday Memorial Service and on Wednesday evening she told Stevens her dream was to remain on the court as long as he had, until age 90.

When Ginsburg told the audience of about 200 at the event sponsored by the Duke University law school that Stevens had said, "Stay longer," people burst into applause

READ: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's eulogy of John Paul Stevens

Three-time cancer survivor over 26 years

An appointee by Democratic President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg, was confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 1993 and took her oath for the Supreme Court a week later. She was the second woman ever appointed to America's highest court, after Sandra Day O'Connor, who served from 1981 to 2006.

Ginsburg, a former women's rights lawyer who argued six groundbreaking cases before her early her reputation as a supporter of women's rights on the bench.

She became the leader of the left wing when Stevens retired in 2010. Under the court tradition, most senior justice in majority assigns the opinion to the court and the

In 2013, Ginsburg's dissent for the liberals in Shelby County v. Holder, when the majority has curtailed the reach of the Voting Rights Act, has been viral on social media. It inspired the "Notorious RBG" meme, which has stuck as RBG has become the subject of books, movies and assorted memories.

During her tenure, Ginsburg has also survived three serious bouts with cancer. Last November, after she cracked three ribs, doctors discovered cancerous nodules from her lungs, which were successfully removed.

Ginsburg returned to the bench in late February and soon after he delivered a unanimous decision finding that the Constitution's protection against excessive fines covers state and municipal actions to seize property used in committing crimes. Such a "civil forfeiture" has often been grossly disproportionate to the defendant's sentence.

Referring to that case of Timbs v. In Ginsburg on Wednesday, Ginsburg has noted that local governments have used such cash and property forfeitures to raise money for their coffers, a "very tempting" practice, she said.

In courtroom setting, Ginsburg has seemed determined not to flag. In June, after returning from a New York trip with a serious case of laryngitis, she insisted on reading lengthy excerpts from an opinion for the majority in a Virginia racial gerrymander dispute.

Referring to more prominent decisions, such as regarding the 2020 census and partisan gerrymandering, Ginsburg on Wednesday noted the fact that she had signed on to opinions written by her liberal colleagues. ] The inside story of how John Roberts negotiated to save Obamacare ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-medium-plus-169.jpg” data-src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-large-169.jpg” data-src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-exlarge-169.jpg” data-src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-super-169.jpg” data-src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190320120018-20190320-john-roberts-obamacare-politics-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>

Ginsburg added to the dissent in the 5- 4 decision case of Rucho v. Common Cause, preventing federal judges from reviewing extreme partisan gerrymanders: "It's very disheartening if you're in a district and you know that it's been rigged so no matter how you vote, it's going to come out for a party," she said Wednesday night.

She observed that people might think it would be pointless to vote. "That's destructive of the democratic system," she said.

Ginsburg also reiterated an observation made in a New York speech last month that the retirement of centrist conservative Anthony Kennedy, succeeded by Brett Kavanaugh, would be of "greatest consequence" for the future of the divided court. her own, she said only that she was taking it "year by year."

And as she closed the 90-minute session, Ginsburg remarked that she had chosen her career six decades ago because she offered dual personal and community benefits: As a lawyer, "you can earn a living," and "do something outside yourself that will make things a little better for people who are less fortunate than you."

That, she recalled, was "pretty nifty."


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