Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Wednesday criticized the Senate hearings for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and lamented that the confirmation process had devolved into a “highly partisan show” since she was confirmed in 1993.
“The way it was, was right. The way it is, is wrong,” the 85-year-old justice said during a discussion at George Washington University Law School, prompting a round of applause.
Justice Ginsburg was confirmed to the bench by a U.S. Senate vote of 96-3, two months after she was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton. The liberal justice said Wednesday that the “atmosphere” back then was “truly bipartisan.”
“The vote on my confirmation was 96-3, even though I had spent about 10 years of my life litigating cases under the auspices of the ACLU,” she said.
“No senator asked me any questions — not about that,” she said.
Justice Ginsburg also noted that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed 98-0 despite his conservative leanings.
“Think of Justice Scalia, who’s certainly a known character in, what was it? 1986,” she said. “The vote was unanimous, every Democrat and every Republican voted for him.
“That’s the way it should be, instead of what it’s become, which is a highly partisan show. The Republicans move in lockstep, and so do the Democrats. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have it go back to the way it was,” she added.
Her comments follow a week of contentious hearings for Judge Kavanaugh, who was nominated by President Trump to the high court in July and is facing fierce opposition from Democrats who say he threatens abortion rights and the Robert Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign.
Judge Kavanaugh is still expected to be confirmed by the full Senate due to the Republican majority.
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