U.S. Supreme Court

Did male justices in Hobby Lobby have 'a bit of a blind spot'? Justice Ginsburg says yes


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees that five of the court’s male justices had a bit of a blind spot when they ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that closely held corporations can’t be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives over their owners’ religious objections.

Ginsburg made the statement in an exchange with Yahoo Global News anchor Katie Couric, who noted that all three female justices were in the minority (along with Justice Stephen G. Breyer) in Hobby Lobby. The story, along with video clips, is here.

“Do you believe that the five male justices truly understood the ramifications of their decision?” Couric asked.

Ginsburg replied that she would have to say no. “But justices continue to think and can change, so I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be opened tomorrow,” Ginsburg said.

“But you do in fact feel these five justices have a bit of a blind spot?” Couric asked.

“In Hobby Lobby,” Ginsburg replied, “yes.” When questioned about Citizens United, she went on to say that many dissents have eventually become the law of the land.

On other subjects, Ginsburg, 81, said she has no plans to retire. “All I can say is that I am still here and likely to remain for a while,” she said. “I will do this job, as long as I can do it full steam.”

On the subject of work-life balance, Ginsburg said she benefited because her late husband shared housework and child-rearing with her.

“You can’t have it all, all at once,” Ginsburg said. “Who—man or woman—has it all, all at once? Over my lifespan I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it.”

Ginsburg also told Couric she wears one lace collar to court for dissents and another for opinions when she is in the majority. And she admitted that had to ask her law clerks “what’s this Notorious?” when a fan created a Tumblr page called “Notorious R.B.G.,” a takeoff on the name of rapper Notorious B.I.G.

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