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Ginsburg: Supreme Court One of 'Most Activist' in History

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By    |   Sunday, 25 Aug 2013 10:29 AM

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the Supreme Court has become "one of the most activist courts in history" and pledged to continue her unofficial role as its liberal leader for the foreseeable future.

In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times, Ginsburg discussed her battles with cancer, flaws in the court's Roe v. Wade decision, and also confessed she is partly to blame for the court's recent decision on voting rights.

Ginsburg said that "if it's measured in terms of readiness to overturn legislation, this is one of the most activist courts in history."

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself.

In concluding that the nation's views towards race relations had progressed and that the federal voting law was no longer needed, Ginsburg said the court's decision was "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

But that decision was made in part due to a 2009 ruling by the court that allowed local jurisdictions to escape federal supervision of elections to ensure minorities were not disenfranchised, and that case propped the door open for the voting rights law to be overturned.

Ginsburg signed that 8-1 decision, but now says she should have distanced herself from the majority opinion.

"If you think it’s going to do real damage, you don’t sign on to it," Ginsburg said. "I was mistaken in that case," Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg said she was "disillusioned" by states like Texas and North Carolina, which moved after the court's decision to overturn the voting rights law to now require voters show identification to cast ballots.

She also criticized the court's handling of Roe v. Wade in 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide, and said the court should have approached the issue piecemeal by specifically targeting and striking down the Texas law.

"I think it's inescapable that the court gave the anti-abortion forces a single target to aim at," Ginsburg said.

"The unelected judges decided this question for the country, and never mind that the issue was in flux in the state legislatures," Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg has battled cancer twice since former President Bill Clinton appointed her to the court in 1993.

Despite calls from some liberals that she step down from the bench during President Barack Obama's term so a new like-minded judge could be appointed, Ginsburg said she intends to serve on the court "as long as I can do the job full steam, and that, at my age, is not predictable."

In other words, her retirement would be based on her health, not calculations on the court's political shift or whether it will have a future effect on key decisions that have hinged on her votes.

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself.

"I don’t see that my majority opinions are going to be undone," Ginsburg said. "I do hope that some of my dissents will one day be the law."

When the next session begins Oct. 7, Ginsburg predicted major decisions would be handed down on issues affecting affirmative action and campaign contributions.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the Supreme Court has become "one of the most activist courts in history" and pledged to continue her unofficial role as its liberal leader for the foreseeable future. In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times, Ginsburg discussed...
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2013-29-25
Sunday, 25 Aug 2013 10:29 AM
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