Ginsburg blasts Supreme Court confirmation process as 'highly partisan show'

Ginsburg blasts Supreme Court confirmation process as 'highly partisan show'
© Getty Images

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Thursday slammed the Senate's Supreme Court confirmation process as a “highly partisan show.”

“The Republicans move in lockstep, so do the Democrats,” she said while speaking Wednesday at George Washington University. “I wish I could wave a magic wand and have it go back to the way it was.”

Ginsburg, the Supreme Court's leading liberal, made her comments in the midst of a bitter confirmation battle over Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whom President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE has nominated to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Kavanugh would become Trump's second nominee on the court. The first, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed after Senate Republicans delayed the confirmation proceedings until after the 2016 presidential election. Gorsuch filled the seat opened up by Justice Antonin Scalia's death. 

Ginsburg, 85, compared current confirmations to her own in 1993.

“The way it was, was right,” she said. “The way it is, is wrong."

“The atmosphere in '93 was truly bipartisan," she said. "The vote on my confirmation was 96 to 3 even though I had spent about 10 years of my life litigating cases under the auspices of the [American Civil Liberties Union] ACLU and I was on the ACLU board, and one of their general counsels.”

Ginsburg said the White House at the time was nervous about her affiliation with the civil rights group, but she said she didn’t get a single question from a senator about it.

She noted that both Justice Stephen Breyer and Scalia were also confirmed by wide margins in the Senate — Breyer by a vote of 87-9, and Scalia by a vote of 98-0.

“Every Democrat and every Republican voted for him,” she said of Scalia.

“But that’s the way it should be. It’s better than what it’s become, which is a highly partisan show.”