Gins­burg voices ju­di­ciary par­ti­san fears, skips Trump speech

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - MICHELLE R. SMITH

BRIS­TOL, R.I. — One of Ruth Bader Gins­burg’s great fears is that the fed­eral ju­di­ciary will start to be seen as just an­other po­lit­i­cal branch of gov­ern­ment di­vided along par­ti­san lines like Con­gress, the U.S. Supreme Court jus­tice said Tues­day.

Gins­burg skipped Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s first State of the Union address, in­stead speak­ing at Roger Wil­liams Univer­sity School of Law in Rhode Is­land.

She did not dis­cuss the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent, but she be­moaned the par­ti­san at­mos­phere in Wash­ing­ton, in par­tic­u­lar the di­vi­sive process for con­firm­ing judges. She pointed to fights over the past four jus­tices ap­pointed to the court: Sa­muel Al­ito, So­nia So­tomayor, Elena Ka­gan and Neil Gor­such.

“Four fine jus­tices who should have got­ten over­whelm­ing sup­port but got many neg­a­tive votes,” she said. “I think it will take great lead­ers on both sides of the aisle to say, ‘Let’s stop this non­sense and start work­ing for our coun­try the way we should.’”

“We have a great fed­eral ju­di­ciary, and I hope we can keep it,” she added.

She also ex­pressed hope that the coun­try even­tu­ally will get over the cur­rent pe­riod of in­tense par­ti­san­ship, com­par­ing it with the 1950s, when McCarthy­ism and the Red Scare led the coun­try to stray “from its most fun­da­men­tal val­ues.”

“That time has passed. This time will, too. We have some­thing so won­der­ful in this na­tion,” she said. “That Democ­racy ex­ists. It would be tragic to lose it. And I think good peo­ple, no mat­ter whether Demo­crat or Repub­li­can, ap­pre­ci­ate that.”

Gins­burg said some in Con­gress are work­ing across the aisle, sin­gling out three fe­male sen­a­tors for praise: Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat El­iz­a­beth War­ren, Min­nesota Demo­crat Amy Klobuchar and Maine Repub­li­can Su­san Collins.

The 84-year-old jus­tice said she feels fine, elic­it­ing cheers and ap­plause from the au­di­ence.

She at­trib­uted her health to her per­sonal trainer, who pub­lished a book on the jus­tice’s work­out last year. A new doc­u­men­tary about her, ti­tled RBG, which just pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val, shows Gins­burg do­ing ex­er­cises, in­clud­ing pushups and throw­ing a weighted ball.

“Many reporters want to know about the rou­tine. Most of them fail mis­er­ably,” she told the crowd Tues­day, laugh­ing and shak­ing her head.

AP/STEPHAN SAVOIA

Supreme Court Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg, speak­ing Tues­day in Bris­tol, R.I., said she feels fine, prompt­ing cheers and ap­plause.

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