Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sitting next to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, admitted Wednesday night that she had played a pivotal role in his decision to name Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993.
“I knew that of all the people who were part of the women’s movement she was one of the key players because of her creative understanding of the law and her sense of commitment,” said Hillary Clinton, who’s a lawyer herself. She added, “I may have expressed an opinion or two about the people he should bring to the top of the list.”
The comments came as the Clintons joined Ginsburg on stage for an event at Georgetown Law. The couple talked about Ginsburg’s legal acumen and her path marking success as a young lawyer in the area of gender discrimination. But they also confessed that both of them have attempted the 86-year-old justice’s famed workout regime with varied success.
“It was a real struggle,” the former president said, before reminiscing about his conversation with Ginsburg more than 25 years ago when he sneaked her into the White House to interview her for the top court in the land.
Bill Clinton said of that Sunday meeting that he had known within 10 minutes that he was going to ask Ginsburg to do the job. He said that even back then “judges were seen by many people as an extension of politics” and he had sought to nominate someone who understood that “we all live under the same set of rules.”
Ginsburg interjected that, at the time, she was 60 years old. “So if you worried about my age, it was unnecessary,” she said to laughter.
Hillary Clinton took a jab at President Donald Trump and his recent nominees to the bench, charging that many of them are “being pushed through despite having no relevant experience.”
The talk comes as the most senior liberal justice on the court – though recovering from her fourth bout of cancer – appeared lively and engaged during the court’s first two weeks of the term earlier this month, when the justices considered cases such as whether federal civil rights law protects LGBT workers.
When the court returns for its next sitting in November, the justices are slated to hear a major case concerning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that gives deportation protections to young immigrants who came to the United States as children. The Trump administration is seeking to phase out the program.
Later in the term, the justices will hear a Second Amendment case, as well as one concerning abortion.