Empirical SCOTUS: If Ginsburg leaves, it could be the liberals’ biggest loss yet – A look back at previous justices replaced with more conservative successors

SCOTUSblog | 8/28/2018 | Staff
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The saga over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health seems to ebb and flow from the headlines almost daily. Part of the mystery relates to the amount of information shared with the public. We know that, while treating Ginsburg for rib fractures, doctors found malignant lesions in her lungs that were promptly removed, and that subsequent tests have shown no evidence of any other cancer. Ginsburg has since missed oral arguments and is reportedly recovering at home while keeping current with the court’s business through reading briefs and written transcripts of oral arguments.

Any major health scare for Ginsburg at 85 is a concern, and she is not out of the woods yet. Meanwhile news outlets such as Politico have reported that the White House is looking for potential replacements if the justice cannot continue on the court. Much of the future direction of the court rests on Ginsburg’s health, as a Trump appointment to her seat would almost certainly lead to the most conservative Supreme Court in recent memory.

Members - Uncertainty - Ginsburg - Health - Reassurances

Members of the public appear aware of the uncertainty surrounding Ginsburg’s health, even with the reassurances that she is cancer-free. I recently posted on Twitter a poll that asked what will happen to Ginsburg’s seat on the court depending on President Donald Trump’s length of time in office. The poll asked if respondents thought Trump would remain in office for one or two terms and whether Ginsburg would remain in her seat for the length of Trump’s term(s) of office. Although the majority of respondents, 55 percent, think Trump will last one term and Ginsburg will remain in her seat throughout the term, a not insignificant minority, 22 percent, feel Ginsburg will not remain in her seat even if Trump is only a single-term president. The other 22 percent of respondents think Trump...
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