U.S. Supreme Court

Ginsburg says she's not retiring and asks: Who would you rather see on the court than me?

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is defending her plans to remain on the bench with a question.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Ginsburg, 81, asked: “So who do you think could be nominated now that would get through the Senate that you would rather see on the court than me?”

She asked a similar question in an interview with Reuters. “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?” she asked. The Washington Post notes the stories, along with a third interview Ginsburg gave to Yahoo News.

Several liberals have called for Ginsburg to retire so President Obama can nominate her replacement.

Ginsburg told Reuters she had a private lunch with President Obama last summer at the White House. She said she didn’t think she was invited because of pressure to retire before elections this year that could give Republicans a majority in the Senate.

Reuters asked Ginsburg whether Obama was “fishing” for retirement plans. “I don’t think he was fishing,” Ginsburg said.

Why then, Reuters asked, did Obama invite Ginsburg to lunch? “Maybe to talk about the court,” she replied. “Maybe because he likes me. I like him.”

“I don’t remember the specifics, but we did talk about the court,” she said.

At least one conservative commentator is criticizing Ginsburg’s lunch with the president. Ed Whelan of the National Review Online said the media would have been outraged if Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist had lunched with President George W. Bush, according to the Post story.

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