Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Thursday said she is eagerly anticipating Elena Kagan's ascension to the Court, and indicated they have been longtime friends.
“I am so glad that Elena is joining us,” Ginsburg told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, according to this dispatch from the Aspen Daily News. Ginsburg was introduced by retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and engaged in a dialogue with journalist and law professor Jeff Rosen. Politico also covered the event here.
Ginsburg said she first met Kagan in 1986 when Kagan was clerking for Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where Ginsburg was also a judge. They met again when Kagan worked with then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) on Ginsburg's Supreme Court nomination. Because Kagan had to read all of Ginsburg's speeches and opinions, "She got to know me quite well," Ginsburg said.
As dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan also picked one Harvard student each year for Ginsburg's consideration as a law clerk, Ginsburg reportedly said. When Kagan herself was nominated to the high court, Ginsburg sent her a note advising her that patience and a sense of humor would get her through the hearings -- and she succeeded at both, in the justice's view. Recalling Kagan's frustration with nominees' non-answers at Senate confirmation hearings, expressed in a 1995 law review article, Ginsburg noted that Kagan had become "older and wise" and followed the pattern of cautious responses at her own hearing last week. Kagan appears to be on track for a confirmation vote by the full Senate by the end of July.
According to reports of the event, Ginsburg described her own health as "fine,' and spoke also about her husband Martin, who died late last month. She described him as the smartest man she knew, and "the first boy I met that cared I had a brain." Describing herself as a "flaming feminist," Ginsburg also said "we will never go back" to the days when abortion was illegal.