I don't have to tell you that the Supreme Court has grown to be quite a source of partisan rancor over the last two years. But wouldn't you know, it hasn't always been that way. There was a time when confirmation votes didn't paralyze Congress. Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke Saturday, and one quote in particular may give you a bit of hope for a bipartisan future, based in the past.
On Saturday, Ginsburg attended The Originalist, a play based on the life of her late friend and colleague, Antonin Scalia, playing at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. until early August. After the play, Ginsburg shared her thoughts on the current situation facing D.C. politics.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Supreme Court justice spent a significant portion of her remarks to the audience looking back toward another age when justices were appointed easily, because the senators elected to Congress respected the Constitution and bipartisanship.
Here's where the hope comes in:
My hope is in my lifetime we will get back to the way it was.
The Journal reported that she spoke about her confirmation process and that of Scalia. She was confirmed with 96-3 voting in favor in 1993, while Scalia was supported 98-0 in the Senate in 1986. She also reportedly talked about Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah being one of her biggest supporters, even though she's known for holding more liberal views.
On top of that, she said that "over the long haul," the country is headed in a positive direction, and that we shouldn't be worried about a seemingly conservative stretch now because as for the political pendulum, "you can look forward to it moving back."
The good old days that Ginsburg refers to definitely ended at the end of Obama's second term. The Republicans decided to break years of tradition and refuse to consider Merrick Garland, President Obama's Supreme Court pick, because he was reaching the end of his presidency. They successfully stalled, and when Trump won the election, rushed forward Neil Gorsuch's nomination, even changing the rules to appoint him with a simple majority.
If you enjoy the idea of bipartisan friendships or working relationships, consider going to see the show. It's about Scalia and one of his law clerks who was a huge liberal. Scalia wanted to constantly be fine tuning arguments, and while the two disagreed on much, they developed a friendship. This is very similar to Ginsburg's own experience with Scalia, and the justice reflected this in her opinion on the play.
I love this play and the idea behind it that people with very different views on important things can genuinely like each other.
That sounds a bit like a foreign concept, but if RBG endorses the idea, there must be something to it.