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Bill Clinton Thought About Age When Vetting Ginsburg for SCOTUS

Oct. 31, 2019, 1:04 AM

Former President Bill Clinton noted Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s age when he was vetting her for the U.S. Supreme Court, saying Oct. 30 that you’d have been “crazy” not to think about it.

Ginsburg, who was 60 when nominated in 1993, said the passing of nearly three decades hasn’t been an issue with her service.

“If you worried about my age, it wasn’t necessary,” the oldest justice at 86 said at an appearance with the former chief executive and Hillary Clinton at a Georgetown Law School event.

Although her husband recalled the issue of Ginsburg’s age all those years ago, Hillary Clinton lamented the Trump administration’s focus on youth and longevity in selecting judges.

“We’ve recently seen people largely chosen on the basis of age, and therefore longevity, and political ideology being pushed through despite having no relevant experience,” the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said.

“It’s something that lawyers and academics should be saying more about than I think is being said,” she added.

Ginsburg, for instance, had been a lawyer for decades and a federal appeals court judge for more than a dozen years when tapped for the Supreme Court.

Trump is making good on his 2016 campaign pledge to reshape the federal judiciary with younger conservatives. The Senate has pushed through more than 150 of his circuit and district court appointments as well as putting Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh spent years on federal appeals courts and are in their early and mid 50s, respectively.

Democrats have criticized many of selections as ill-suited for lifetime appointments to the federal bench. They’re concerned about lack of judicial experience and what they call in some cases extreme ideology.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com