March 17, 2014

Erwin Chemerinsky leans heavily into Ruth Bader Ginsburg: She "should retire."

The influential dean of the UC Irvine School of Law puts his weight into the Ginsburg-must-retire movement.

It is necessary — don't you know? — for the over-aged woman to step aside. For the good of liberals.

Hey! What about Hillary?! This completely overlaps with the liberal interest in convincing Americans that Hillary is not too old to be President. I Googled "Hillary is too old" and got "[a]bout 56,900,000 results," including a column in today's USAToday titled "Is Hillary too old for 2016?"

Shouldn't Chemerinsky, et al., be conveying their message to the venerable Ginsburg in a more dignified behind-the-scenes manner? Or is that known to have failed? Or is there some other message — for Us the People — to be absorbed for some reason I'm missing?

Does Chemerinsky have anything new to say — anything that doesn't make the pressure on Ginsburg even more unseemly? Her birthday just came up a couple days ago, and she hit 81. Last year was the landmark 80. 81 is not special, other than to be — yikes! — even older than 80. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and John Paul Stevens both served until they were 90.

Is the 90 mark only for men? This would be the "war on women" if the President were a Republican. But the President is a Democrat, so it's Step aside, old lady.
[O]nly by resigning this summer can she ensure that a Democratic president will be able to choose a successor who shares her views and values....
Chemerinsky frets about the Democrats' losing the Senate this fall, and Ginsburg's retiring in June, he assumes, will give Obama the power to pick "virtually anyone he wants" for the Court. Filibuster is unlikely, Chemerinsky informs us, and anyway, the Democrats have the power to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court Justices. They've already eliminated the filibuster for the rest of the federal judiciary.

Chemerinsky doesn't touch upon the political repercussions of such a drastic and obvious move, but he can't be so shortsighted and judge-focused that he doesn't notice. Is he so pessimistic about the Democrats in the fall elections that he thinks they might as well throw their power around this summer while they still have it?

59 comments:

harrogate said...

The desire for new justices to be to the left of Alito is what is driving this. This is obvious. It is fear.

Mr. D said...

A Republican president isn't gonna put Cass Sunstein on the Court.

America's Politico said...

When will this clown dean (volunteer for the Democratic Party) retire? I mean what has this guy done? He is the has-been, never-was. Just like HRC and Obama. I mean, these clowns own the voters. Who is the biggest loser? The voter.

gerry said...

Is he so pessimistic about the Democrats' in the fall elections that he thinks they might as well throw their power around this summer while they still have it?

I think so. Democrats are openly discussing the probability.

RecChief said...

last I knew women still lived longer than men.

What is with Liberals' War on Old Women?

Henry said...

Too bad Obama doesn't have Learned Hand to nominate.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"But the best way for her to advance all the things she has spent her life working for is to ensure that a Democratic president picks her successor."

Erwin doesn't even trust Hillary to make the right call, as he demands Ginsburg retire now.

This Erwin chap seems to have a problem with women making decisions. He believes women should disappear from the scene quietly, at the men's insistence, while a man decides the future. All because this is the best way for Ginsburg to advance things she has fought her entire life to advance?

No, we have misogyny here, classic hatred and distrust of women, and if the feminists won't boycott Erwin and his school and friends and family, then folks of good character and decency ought to.

This is how it spreads. Shameful. And I strongly, strongly dislike Ginsburg among public figures I have heard of. But that's because she is like Soiled Harry Reid.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


I love the smell of desperation in the morning.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving group of SOBs.

David said...
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Ron said...

If they did throw their power around... Aaron Paul knows what paybacks are....

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The really sad thing is that anyone believes the job of a Supreme Court justice is to advance anything other than the accurate application of the laws.

I blame constitutional law professors.

MadisonMan said...

a progressive result

Progressive is a code word, and it's lazy writing, IMO.

Why not just say that it's a result that aligns with Democratic voters' wishes?

MadisonMan said...

By the way -- how old is Chemerinsky? 60! Time for him to retire and let someone with newer ideas take over.

Qwerty Smith said...

"Shouldn't Chemerinsky, et al., be conveying their message to the venerable Ginsburg in a more dignified behind-the-scenes manner?"

Only if Chemerinsky's motive is to accomplish his explicit goal. If the real motive is narcissism -- look at me, I'm not just some ivory tower administrator, I'm a Machiavellian political tactician! -- then mission accomplished.

PB Reader said...

Nor does this "bright" guy focus on the reasons why Obama is losing support and causing the democrats to lose the Senate.

Brennan said...

I like Erwin's new blog: The Paulbearer.

RecChief said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
The really sad thing is that anyone believes the job of a Supreme Court justice is to advance anything other than the accurate application of the laws.

I blame constitutional law professors."


Well said.

Jim said...

RBG needs to be hiring food-tasters, not clerks.

Basil said...

Professor, when will you and the rest of the professoriate admit publicly that the left wing progressive law professor industry is in the business of turning law into politics by other means? Dean Chemerinsky is one of many who have gladly rejected the rule of law in favor of the rule of power, through any temporary majority of any legislative body and then using the courts to make that temporary majority permanent. Ratchet theory of creeping socialism. See, California pension rule where a majority from the past's statute cannot be modified by a majority today because the courts won't let them. Taxation without representation, indeed!

BDNYC said...

Many law professors think much too highly of themselves. There's something about the profession that seems to make them think they're especially wise and learned, which is ironic since it's one of the least rigorous fields of academia, requiring only a 3 year professional degree and no postdoc research or fellowships or anything of the like. No offense, Althouse.

mccullough said...

There would be pressure on red-state Dems to reject an Obama nominee to prove their independence from Obama. a nominee's refusal to provide a full-throated endorsement of Heller and McDonald would cause at least 6 Dems to reject the nominee.

Big Mike said...

In the "Age of Obama" the Democrats don't even bother to worry about the "optics" anymore.

There aren't any UC Irvine clerks on the Court, are there? Because if so they should be fired immediately as a gesture of respect to Justice Ginsburg and a message to Mr. Chemerinsky.

jeff said...

I thought the judges were supposed to do their jobs guided by the constitution. Not "...her views and values". I thought that was for the legislative branch. And you say he is a dean, huh?

Fernandinande said...

I Googled "Hillary is too old" and got "[a]bout 56,900,000 results,"

I googled "Hillary is too old", with quotes, and got 114 results.

Google grossly exaggerates the initial count (20,500 in this case, with quotes); click thru to page 12 of the results and you'll find there's only 114 with the phrase "Hillary is too old".

Fernandinande said...

["Hillary" "clinton" "too old"] = 309 google results.

Quite a bit different from the fake 57 million.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well with Fauxcahontas Warren leading the charge, the Democrat party has turned into a bunch of "red" Indians.

Subchief Rains In The Skull Chermerinsky has now decreed that Old Squaw Ginsberg take a blanket and go out in the snow storms to die. It's fortunate that there are blizzard conditions in the Midwest and the East Coast today to hasten the process.

William said...

Ginsburg looks fragile and frail. If you got her name in the death pool, you would consider yourself lucky. Breyer is also old, but he looks much heartier. I don't think it's sexism or even ageism. It's deathism. You can't help but see the skull beneath the flesh in Ginsburg......What is it about Supreme Court cases that would drive someone to want to spend their last few days on earth reviewing them? I have far more respect for David Carradine who was far less self indulgent in his last moments on earth.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

U.S. Senate Democrats in tight races are not going to want a controversial nominee.

So the difference between a nominee who could be confirmed now versus a year from is not as great as Cherminsky imagines.

Cherminsky's real worry is that it will be 3 years from now, but if Hillary Clinton loses to a Republican, what difference will it make?

paul a'barge said...

Erwin Cherminsky is a raving leftist loon.

Did I mention raving?

cubanbob said...

If she doesn't quit at the end of this term she isn't going to quit before the end of the next term. In an election year Obama isn't going to get an obviously leftist judge confirmed if she does quit. I doubt that even in a lame duck session with the Republican's winning the senate there would be enough Democrats who at this point vote for an obvious lefty.

Michael K said...

Chemerinsky is a lefty hack. He is on Hugh Hewitt's show frequently and has never taken a position, no matter how sensible, that would oppose the left. He is so brilliant that he started a new law school, at UCI, just as law school enrollment collapsed. Sort of like lefty economies.

KLDAVIS said...
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KLDAVIS said...

"Or is there some other message — for Us the People — to be absorbed for some reason I'm missing?"

1) Chemerinsky attacks Ginsburg as too old. [Check]
2) Everyone rushes to defend Ginsburg. [Check]
3) Commonly accepted that if Ginsburg wasn't too old, Hillary can't possibly be too old. [Pending]

QED

Mattman26 said...

I agree with Left Bank of the Charles that even if RBG retired today, it would be politically difficult for Obama to nominate anyone who would make the left giddy.

I suppose a vanilla-left candidate might be risky for Republicans to filibuster, but any highly charged fight is not going to be good for the vulnerable Dems who are up for election this year.

And if Harry Reid steamrolled the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees? They would really regret it if a Republican wins the presidency in 2016.

Beldar said...

Hillary's age is not among my top 50 reasons why she ought not be POTUS.

That said:

Youth and physical vigor are almost entirely unnecessary as qualities for an effective member of the SCOTUS. In contrast, they can be useful attributes for a POTUS; but I don't think they're the most important attributes, and I would much prefer a Dwight Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan to a Jack Kennedy or Barrack Obama as POTUS.

Beldar said...
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Beldar said...

Also FWIW, although I disagree with her most of the time, I accord Justice Ginsburg respect comparable to that I gave Justice Brennan. It would be some years, at best and if ever, before an Obama appointee to replace her would even equal her current effectiveness.

The whole movement among progressives to dump her and Breyer smacks of desperation, ingratitude, and strategic foolishness. I enjoy watching it.

Beldar said...
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Beldar said...

@Mattman26:

The filibuster for judicial nominees at every level is dead, dead, dead. It is now of only historical relevance, comparable to that of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 (which limited the number of battleships among the Great Powers) after Pearl Harbor. Even if Mitch McConnell retains his seat and his leadership position among the GOP senators this November, he would not be able to restore it.

Kansas City said...

On of the funny aspects of liberals is that they vitualy never give up their power position for the benefit of others. It is why, in the party of affirmative action, the true leaders are almost all white adn mostly male. Can you even think of a time when a white liberal stepped down to give a minority a chance? Like other things for limosine liberals, the fixes they prescribe are for other, little people, not for them.

Archie said...

This fellow's baldly ideological willingness to bet the political stability of the nation on his sleazy vision of court politics renders him unfit for his job. There is a point when reaction to this too cute by half stuff leaves the halls of Congress and boils up in the streets. This guy is a risk taker.

MikeL said...

Too funny! Lefties know they have only half a year to replace the old guard before the GOP takes over the Senate with Harry Reid's new filibuster-less confirmations.

Cedarford said...

Basic problem is the huge flaws in the Constitution that were difficult to Amend in the past without a Civil War destroying 1/3rd of the country and the vote of that part of the nation....and just about impossible now. The last Amendment that had any conroversy to it was the Poll Tax elimination in 1962....now special interest groups have learned to organize and block any Amendment that 1/4 or less of the population even a small cabal of rich & powerful - oppose(ending birthright citizenship).

Lifetime appoinment of judges was a very, very stupid idea. No other country has it, even all the US states reject that idiot perq for their judges.

But enshrined as holy writ in the Sacred Parchment of the All-Wise guys in powdered wigs covered in horseshit from shins down - it is as thought to be as unchangeable as Sharia from the Koran is - for Muslims.
So it isn't just Ginsburg that is the problem. Besides Reinquist hanging on unable to work due to cancer, Thurgood Marshall and Douglas gone senile and their decisions done by staffers.....you have this problem resident in 100s of Fed judges long, long past retirement at levels below the SCOTUS.

wildswan said...

"Lefties know they have only half a year to replace the old guard before the GOP takes over the Senate with Harry Reid's new filibuster-less confirmations."

How sweet it is.

TPS said...

HE WROTE: "[O]nly by resigning this summer can she ensure that a Democratic president will be able to choose a successor who shares her views and values...."

So in other words, we need someone who won't follow the Constitution.

Chermerinsky is on Hugh Hewitt's show each Wednesday I think. He is a self-absorbed punk whose views, together with his voice and style, makes me want to puke.

Chuck said...

The cohort of readers of BOTH the Althouse blog and James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column on WSJ.com is, I would think large enough that perhaps I don't need to mention this; since I so many Althouse references at Best of the Web, and so many Taranto referfences here...

But for anyone who hasn't yet seen it, Taranto runs circles around Chemerinsky's slightly noxious proposal here (from last Friday):

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303730804579439230004636584?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion&mg=reno64-wsj

dwick said...

I don't know about Stevens but whether Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr was serving well until age 90 is doubtful. The old coot Holmes only stepped down because his 'brethren on the court' pushed him - he probably had been coasting for several years by then.

And just because 2 of the 112 justices made it to 90 doesn't make 90 the 'new normal'... Of the 32 Justices that have retired or resigned since Holmes was dragged off the Court back in 1935, the average retirement age was just short of 74.

eddie willers said...

War on women:

Ted Kennedy 1
Republicans 0

traditionalguy said...

The Great Obama Death Panel meets the SCOTUS.

I bet Ginsburg wins.

damikesc said...

Shouldn't Erwin ALSO retire and let somebody younger run things at UC Irvine?

Shouldn't Chemerinsky, et al., be conveying their message to the venerable Ginsburg in a more dignified behind-the-scenes manner?

Attacking Roberts and the possible "illegitimacy of the SCOTUS" if he ruled against Obamacare got him to rule FOR Obamacare.

So, the tactic works. And was warned, it's success insures future uses.

Saint Croix said...

Abort her, abort her, abort her for abortion.

"I'm viable, damn it!"

zefal said...

democrats eliminated the filibuster knowing that the media can still filibuster a Republican president's nominees by giving coverage without comment to outright smears from the left and media's high-pitch shrieking of any wart the nominee has no matter how small.

Just like putin knows obama is nothing more than a rolling pin; the dems and their shills in the media know that so are the Republicans.

Don't think that the dems and the media won't bash the Repubs to reinstall the filibuster when they get control of the Senate again and be successful.

Hale Adams said...

Quoth the Instapundit:

"AGEISM AND SEXISM ON THE MARCH: Erwin Chemerinsky leans heavily into Ruth Bader Ginsburg: She 'should retire.' Hop onto this ice floe, old woman. You’re no further use to the tribe."
**************
Liberals are such lovely people.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's Democratic Republic of Maryland

David said...

Chemerinsky's statement is notable for its tastelessness, including its assumption that a man with a set of achievements decidedly less impressive than Ginsburg's should be telling her that she should pack it in. Maybe Chemerinsky understand this, and sees his role more as stirring up the troops to increase the pressure.

A big part of a Supreme Court Justice's skill set involves determining with clarity what is really at stake in matters before them, and weighing the importance of the various stakes when the proper result is initially uncertain. Ginsburg has had lots of experience to hone this skill. Those hounding the Justice to resign may have difficulty grasping that she may find more important factors involved in her decision than whether a particular approach to judicial construction achieves a majority on the Supreme Court.

Don M said...

I figure it is a way of applying pressure to Justice Scalia. He and Justice Ginsburg are noted friends.

richardsson said...

Better yet, I think Ol' Erwin ought to retire. We also ought to shut down the UC Irvine Law School. The last thing California needs is more lefty lawyers to wreck our economy. Let them pay their own way through the Slip and Fall Law Schools.

richardsson said...
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horsemanzero said...

Let's see if I follow the logic here:
Democrats have done a horrible job holding the reins of power, and are therefore about to have those reins taken from the. So they should make as many moves as they can now, because they've done such a great job...

Chuck said...

Don M said...
"I figure it is a way of applying pressure to Justice Scalia. He and Justice Ginsburg are noted friends."

No; Chemerinsky would never hope/dream that Obama would be handed a chance to replace Scalia. Indeed, if we had a second-term Republican president now, and we were talking about getting Scalia to retire so that we could appoint a younger Scalia, Chemerinsky would no doubt be grousing about that being a scandalously political act. But here we have Chemerinsky suggesting that the liberals need to do whatever is necessary to preserve "their" seats.