At D.C. Synagogue, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says She'll Continue to Serve With 'Full Steam Ahead'

Ginsburg says the U.S. should pass the Equal Rights Amendment to enshrine equality between men and women in the Constitution

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg reads a passage from “The Diary of Anne Frank” as she appears at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., February 1, 2018.
Ron Sachs/CNP

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg said on Thursday that she has no plans to retire from the court in the near future, and that she will continue to serve as long as she has the "full steam" necessary for the job. Speaking at an event at the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington, she said that "as long as I can do the job, I will."

Bader-Ginsburg, who stated that she is the longest-serving Jewish justice in the court's history, was interviewed by Forward editor Jane Eisner. She spoke at length about her early struggles as a woman in the judicial world, about her friendship with the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, and about the role of Judaism in her life.

Bader-Ginsburg has been a member of the Supreme Court since 1993, the year she was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton. She is one of the most liberal justices, and ever since President Trump took office last year, liberals in the United States have voiced concern over the possibility that she will retire and be replaced by a conservative judge. Bader-Ginsburg is 84 years old.

Bader-Ginsburg's statement about her intention to continue serving as long as she can drew applause from the Washington crowd on Thursday evening. So did her statement that the United States should pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which passed Congress in the 1970's but failed to win the support of a sufficient number of states in order to become a part of the Constitution. The amendment was supposed to state equality between men and women. 

Bader-Ginsburg said that as someone who has three granddaughters, she "would like them to see in the Constitution that men and women have equal citizenship stature.”

Eisner asked Bader-Ginsburg about her close friendship with Justice Scalia, one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court, about what the model of their friendship can contribute to the current polarized state of American politics. Bader-Ginsburg said that their friendship was based on a shared sense of humor, a common love for the opera, and some similarities in their personal background, such as the fact that both grew up in working class areas of New York City.

Before the 2016 election, Bader-Ginsburg created a political controversy when she criticized Donald Trump, calling him a "faker." Trump in return called on her to resign. She later expressed regret for making a political comment in the midst of an election. At the talk, Bader-Ginsburg did not speak about Trump, but she did not attend his State of the Union address earlier this week.