Justice Ginsburg Says She Won’t Retire Before 2012; Hints She May Stay Until 2016

February 4, 2011 - 10:18 AM

(CNSNews.com) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said on Thursday evening that she will not retire from the court before 2012 and hinted that she might serve until she's at least 83 years old in 2016.

Ginsburg was interviewed by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The topic of the discussion was Ginsburg's life before and after becoming a Supreme Court justice.

“I am constantly asked, ‘Is Justice Ginsburg going to retire soon?’" Totenberg asked. "So, I will ask you that. Do you have any plans for your retirement?”

Ginsburg, who was born on March 15, 1933, will turn 78 next month. “I will give the answer that I just gave to you, Nina, a few moments ago," Ginsburg said. "One of the nice perks about this job is that we get to choose paintings from the storage supply of the National Gallery, the Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn.

ruth bader ginsburg

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I had a wonderful painting from the Museum of American Art by Josef Albers,” said Ginsburg. “It was taken away for a traveling exhibition and I’m told that it will come back to me sometime in 2012. So I am certainly not going to retire before I get my Albers back. Another answer I can give you is I was appointed at age 60, the same age that Louis Bidenz Brandeis was when he was appointed the court. He stayed until he was 83. So I do have a way to go.”

Ginsburg will be 83 on March 15, 2016. (Louis Brandeis retired from the Court at the age of 83 in 1939.)

President Barack Obama, who will be standing for reelection in 2012, has so far filled two vacancies on the Supreme Court, appointing Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Last year, during the confirmation process for Justice Kagan, U.S. News and World Report published a piece on "rumors" that Justice Ginsburg might soon retire, and noted the recent death of her husband and her own bout with cancer. "While the court won't comment on the rumors, indications are that she might be looking to leave soon because of the recent death of her husband and also because of her own health issues," said U.S. News and World Report. "She recently underwent chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer."