U.S. Supreme Court

After 20 years on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg rates herself the hardest-working justice


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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued five oral dissents this past term, more than any other justice in at least 44 years.

USA Today interviewed Ginsburg, 80, who was confirmed on Aug. 3, 1993. “As she completes her 20th year on the high court,” the story says, “she is not ready to retire, to recede into the history books. In fact, she is at the height of her power and influence.”

Ginsburg’s “dedication and fastidiousness” are legendary among her law clerks and colleagues, according to the story. It wasn’t unusual for clerks to get messages from the justice at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., according to former clerk Goodwin Liu, now a California Supreme Court justice. She is also faster than the other justices when writing majority opinions, taking an average of 60 days to finish the job after oral arguments.

Supreme Court litigator Paul Clement tells the newspaper that his clients are impressed with how thoroughly Ginsburg reads lower court opinions. When lawyers prepare for oral arguments in moot court sessions, they often respond to questions about lower court opinions with the preface, “Well, Justice Ginsburg…”

Ginsburg acknowledges she is dedicated to the job. “I think now I am the hardest-working justice,” she tells USA Today. “I wasn’t until David Souter left us.” And she’s not ready for retirement.

“As long as I can do the job full-steam, I would like to stay here,” she told the newspaper. “Last term was a good example. I didn’t write any slower. I didn’t think any slower. I have to take it year by year at my age, and who knows what could happen next year? Right now, I know I’m OK. Whether that will be true at the end of next term, I can’t say.”

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