Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "50 years from now, people will not be able to understand Hobby Lobby"

The Supreme Court Justice tells Elle why SCOTUS isn't a "conservative court" -- and why she's not stepping down

Published September 23, 2014 8:09PM (EDT)

  (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has already (artfully) made clear that she disagrees with the Hobby Lobby decision -- but she's convinced future generations will not only feel the same way, but that they won't even understand the Supreme Court's ruling in the first place. In a recent interview with Elle, Ginsburg shared her views on the most significant rulings the court has handed down during her time on the bench, as well as the future of gender-based discrimination and reproductive rights:

Well, I think 50 years from now, people will not be able to understand Hobby Lobby. Oh, and I think on the issue of choice, one of the reasons, to be frank, that there’s not so much pro-choice activity is that young women, including my daughter and my granddaughter, have grown up in a world where they know if they need an abortion, they can get it. Not that either one of them has had one, but it’s comforting to know if they need it, they can get it.

When asked if she believes that the court will swing further to the right over abortion rights, Ginsburg answered optimistically, adding that she thinks the court has "gotten about as conservative as it will get." The long-serving justice also addressed skeptics who have called the court conservative overall, as well as critics who have called her an activist judge. The term doesn't apply in all situations, she says; it "depends on whose ox is being gored":

You think of activism, Congress is supposed to make the laws. So, it passed a campaign finance law. This court says, “No, Congress, you can’t do that.” This court is labeled conservative, but it has held invalid more statutes than most courts. That’s why I say that activism is like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” So the answer to the question: If a judge is called an activist, you know the person saying that doesn't like the decision.

Ginsburg also explained why she won't be stepping down anytime soon, despite calls from the left for her to make room for an Obama appointee:

Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have? If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court ... anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam…. I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can.

The full interview will run in Elle's October issue, but the rest of the excerpt -- in which Ginsburg talks unconscious gender bias, "having it all" and what it means to be a woman on the bench -- is worth a read as well.

By Jenny Kutner

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Rights Elle Hobby Lobby Notorious Rbg Reproductive Rights Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scotus Supreme Court