Should Justice Ginsburg step down in light of her cancer returning?


Fact Box

  • There have been a grand total of 114 Supreme Court Justices since October 2018. 
  • The longest serving Chief Justice was John Marshall who served for 34 years, 5 months, and 11 days from 1801 to 1835.
  • The average tenure of a Supreme Court Justice is 17 years
  • Justice Ginsburg was named one of Forbes Magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women from 2004 through 2011.
  • President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993.
  • During Justice Ginsburg’s service, she has endured colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, a stent operation, rib fractures, lung cancer, gallbladder condition, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy for liver cancer.

Noah (Yes)

It's time. Justice Ginsburg needs to step down. Her age, her sickness, and her chances of recovery from liver cancer all point to the fact that she should retire from the bench as soon as possible to focus on her health.

Justice Ginsburg has an admirable reputation of service on the Supreme Court and made an enormous positive impact on equality in America. For example, Justice Ginsburg worked her entire career to eliminate gender-based stereotyping in legislation and regulations. She was the first justice to officiate a same-sex marriage. Retiring now is the responsible way to leave her incomparable legacy of jurisprudence excellence for history.

Treatment for liver cancer is exhausting and debilitating. She is doing a disservice to herself and the nation by prolonging her tenure on the court. Chemotherapy, surgery, and side effects from all forms of medical treatments of liver cancer make it almost impossible for any person to act functionally. At her age and history of illness, it will be virtually impossible for her to serve fully in the rigorous style needed as a Supreme Court justice.

America is currently embroiled in a cultural civil war. Major issues are being argued in the streets and in the courthouses. The Supreme Court is the last say in so many necessary decisions. We need a full-court press now more than ever before to decide the future of this great nation. By retiring now, Justice Ginsburg can focus on the critical health issues facing herself and her family, which she rightfully deserves to do.


Alexandra (No)

Justice Ginsburg is the second longest-serving justice and a beacon of the democratic process. The circumstances surrounding her health are no cause for retirement. 

The honorable justice has weathered significant health issues, all while serving on the bench. She was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1999, followed by a reoccurrence in 2009. In 2018, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. For twenty years, Justice Ginsburg has balanced the responsibilities of presiding over the highest court of the land, and her own health issues. If anyone knows how to balance these stressors, it's her. Doctors have weighed in, describing her as a medical outlier who 'has always done much better than one would have anticipated.'

Justice Ginsburg should not retire until there is an opportunity to appoint a left-leaning replacement. President Trump has already appointed two controversial Supreme Court justices. If Trump replaces Ginsburg's seat, 1/3 of the court would be made up of Trump appointments, giving undue sway over politics for years to come. For the sake of balance in this nation, she cannot retire while the Trump administration can replace her. 

Most importantly, Supreme Court appointments are for life. Justice Ginsburg has the position until she dies. It does not matter what the public believes she 'ought' to do; the constitution allows her to maintain her position. The system of checks and balances ensures that justices cannot be excessively pressured to retire in moments like these. In her own words, she is 'fully able' to 'do the job full steam.'

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