Americans, when asked, feel that the ideal retirement age is 61. Many realize they may be working longer than that to make ends meet, but few think age 90 is a great time to begin living their golden years.
One U.S. Supreme Court justice seems to think so, though.
85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced her retirement plans on Sunday, according to CNN, saying, "My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years."
Aaron Black of the Washington Post finds the timing of her announcement for five years down the road suspiciously political.
“It almost seems to send a concerted signal to liberals not to worry about her handing President Trump another Supreme Court vacancy,” Black wrote. “This is a message that understandably cheered liberals.”
It’s not certainly not great news for conservatives hoping for left-leaning Ginsburg to retire solidly within Trump’s first term so that he can get a third conservative onto the Supreme Court, locking in a majority of Constitutional originalists for years — or even decades.
But wouldn’t Ginsburg retiring in five years mean Trump would get that same chance if he gets elected for a second term? Possibly.
Depending on the exact timing Ginsburg “at least five years” retirement — if she’s able to stay healthy and serve that long — she could be calling it quits during a presidential election year at the end of Trump’s second term in 2024 instead of 2023.
Here’s why that’s significant. If Republicans lose control of the Senate during the midterms this year, for instance, and don’t have a majority in 2024, a Democrat-controlled Senate could block Trump’s SCOTUS pick, citing the Republicans’ insistence that Obama’s SCOTUS pick of Merrick Garland could not be confirmed during the 2016 presidential election year.
“With one quote, Ginsburg set the goal posts for her retirement in a suspiciously convenient place for liberals,” Black noted.
But Black also pointed out that if Republicans do keep control of Congress, Democrats really can’t stop them from confirming a conservative to the Supreme Court if Trump is president in 2024. It’ll be fascinating to see what happens.