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Gerardo Alvarado

Mr. Okamoto
AP American Government
11 October 2014
As the Supreme Court begins its session, calls have risen for the resignation of Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and these calls have sparked debate over the lifelong terms of Supreme
Court Justices. Most calling for Justice Ginsburgs resignation appear to also be in favor of shortterm Supreme Court seats and similarly, the opposing opinions belong to a mostly singular group
of people. The attempt to coerce Ginsburg into resignation derives from the fear that shifts in
control of the other branches might lead to unnecessary deadlock in the coming years and, if this
proves to be true, will also provide evidence for the necessity of shorter terms in the Court.
With the possibility of a Republican Senate majority this year and a Republican president
in 2016, critics such as Erwin Chermerinsky argue that it is in President Obamas best interest to
act now and assure that a progressive liberal be chosen as Justice Ginsburgs replacement. If the
Republicans take the senate, it will be incredibly difficult to do this without opposition and if
President Obamas successor is a Republican, it can almost be assured that a conservative will be
chosen as successor. However, these theories are only plausible if Justice Ginsburg retires soon
and, as Jeffrey Rosen points out, she has no plans of resigning soon, though her age may be an
issue later. The opposition also argues that Justice Ginsburg is a leading figure in the liberal
opposition and has been providing innovative work for the liberal front from her position. This,
combined with her attitude, according to those supporting her, ensures that her seat will not be an
issue.

The evidence provided by those supporting Justice Ginsburg is substantial and


convincing, though the fears of those against her are reasonable. However, it seems somewhat
cruel to gamble a political seat and maneuver for that seat on the basis of the old age of Justice
Ginsburg. The American public elected an older gentleman for president in the 1980s and his
conservative legacy still lives on. Therefore it is only fair to allow Justice Ginsburg to continue
her influential work and establish a new progressive liberal legacy in America.
The prospect of amending the Supreme Court is also unlikely to occur. To elaborate on a
point made by Rosen, the idea of getting the necessary two-thirds majority for the amendment is
optimistic at best. Democrats do not have the necessary votes and following the past summers
conflicts between the Republican majority in the House and Democratic President Obama,
Republicans may not be willing to compromise. It also important to note that the Supreme Court
is somewhat of an icon in the American publics political view. The last time a change in the
Supreme Court was proposed for political gain, popular President Frederick Roosevelt received a
plethora of negative criticism. Luckily for FDR, economic maneuvering and excellent wartime
strategy overshadowed this incident and marked him as an exemplary president. The absence of
such great political feats from the Democratic Party will negatively affect the Party in upcoming
elections if they pursue the amendment.
The purpose of three separate governing branches was to ensure a balanced government
and the policy of lifelong terms is as essential to the system as four-year term presidencies. To
attempt to even coerce a Justice to resign seems to undermine system. Justice Ginsburg should
resign when she deems it necessary and refrain from participating in the unsympathetic power
play that encompasses current American politics.