Ruth Bader Ginsburg Criticizes Washington ‘Dysfunction’ Amid Impeachment Trial

January 31, 2020 Updated: January 31, 2020
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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized the lack of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in Washington, saying that it hasn’t always been this way.

“Now we’ve seen the high degree of polarization in recent years,” Ginsburg said at the LBJ Foundation event on Thursday. “Yes, that’s true. My hope is that someday there will be patriots on both sides of the aisle who are determined to stop the dysfunction we are now experiencing and will decide that their institutional government should work for the benefit of all of the people.”

Ginsburg, 86, was asked about whether she is fearful of any further partisan divide in the United States, to which she responded in the affirmative.

“That is the fear that this polarization will continue, and my greatest hope is that it will end. So you think back to how it was in [19]93, the person who was my biggest supporter on the Senate Judiciary Committee was not the then-chairman, although the chairman was certainly in my corner; it was then-Senator [Joe] Biden,” she said, Fox News reported. “But my greatest supporter was Orrin Hatch of Utah. And, Strom Thurmond gave me a supply of Strom Thurmond key chains, which has lasted until last year.” Thurmond, a Republican, was a longtime senator before his death in 2003.

Ginsburg noted there is still civility in the Supreme Court, despite the justices having differing opinions.

“It is the most collegial place I have ever worked. One symbol of it is every day before we sit to hear cases, and every day before we confer on cases, we go around the conference room, each justice shakes hands with every other,” she said. “And that’s the way of saying ‘Yes, you circulated a pretty spicy dissent yesterday’ … but we’re all in this together and we know that the institution we serve is ever so much more important than our individual egos. So to make it work, we have to not just tolerate but genuinely appreciate each other.”

The longtime judge announced earlier this month that she no longer has cancer following several health scares in recent years.

Ginsburg, 86, told CNN that 2020 started fine: “I’m cancer-free. That’s good.”

In recent years, namely, after President Trump took office, the associate justice’s health has been the subject of intense scrutiny. If she was to step down, Trump would be able to name a conservative judge to the Supreme Court. The move would tip the court further in favor of conservatives after he appointed Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.