Justice Ginsburg predicts the 2016 presidential election

The antidote to Justice Scalia's interview is the voice of his friend and foe, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Published October 7, 2013 9:48PM (EDT)

  (AP/Matt Sayles)
(AP/Matt Sayles)

The Supreme Court has begun a new term, and with it came New York Magazine's colorful and revealing interview with Justice Antonin Scalia.  Scalia wasn't the only Supreme Court Justice to give insight into the inner workings of jurisprudence. Recently, glossy pages were also graced by his colleague on the other side of the aisle, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in The Washington Post magazine.

Though the piece doesn't contain any revelations that approach Scalia's sincere belief in the Devil, we learn about the 80-year-old Justice's love of opera, why she fell asleep at the State of the Union (a good bottle of California wine), and her unlikely friendship with Justice Scalia.

The two justices are on opposite poles even on the most fundamental tenants of constitutional law: Scalia is an originalist and Ginsburg believes the document evolves.  Scalia still thinks "there are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently."  One of Ginsburg's most significant opinions was allowing women to enter the Virginia Military Institute (she read Scalia's dissent to strengthen her position).  Scalia "suspects" some of his friends are gay.  Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court Justice to perform a gay marriage.

Yet, they do share similar views on one important topic: retirement.  Each will know when the time is right.  On the subject Ginsburg said, “When I can’t do the job, there will be signs....So all I can say is what I’ve already said: At my age, you take it year by year.”

Justice Ginsburg's departure would mean a loss of one of the court's four liberal voices.  And the left fears that when she does step down from the bench a conservative president's appointment could tip the balance of power.

Justice Ginsburg predicts otherwise, saying that after President Obama, “I think it’s going to be another Democratic president.  The Democrats do fine in presidential elections; their problem is they can’t get out the vote in the midterm elections.”

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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