Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Friday that there will "soon" be an opening on the high court, prompting widespread speculation over whether the justice has plans to resign.
Ginsburg made the comment Friday in Boston in her first public appearance since undergoing cancer surgery last month.
A student at the New England Law School asked Ginsburg to explain how the Court's dynamic changes when a new justice arrives. Ginsburg — who turned 76 on Sunday — said the Court only takes a group picture when a new justice arrives, adding, "we haven't had any photos for some time. But surely we will soon."
Ginsburg's comments were first reported by the Associated Press and then posted to numerous legal blogs.
Ginsburg's recent health problems would certainly give her reason to retire. But in a newspaper interview last week, she reiterated her desire to remain on the Court for several more years. Ginsburg's provided no further explanation Friday about her comment.
John Paul Stevens and David Souter are two other justices rumored to step down. Stevens will turn 89 next month, but has shown little sign of slowing down. Earlier this month, Stevens intently questioned a lawyer in a high-profile judicial recusal case. And the justuce remains a powerful force behind the scenes — having already authored several significant opinions.
Souter, 69, is well known for the fondness he has of his New Hampshire home, where he spends his summers. The justice described the annual return to the Court's business in the fall as "sort of annual intellectual lobotomy." Souter's appearance last week at a humanities conference in Washington, D.C., was itself noteworthy for the dearth of public appearances he has made in his nearly two decades on the bench.
On Friday, Ginsburg called Souter a "slave to duty," but said she was able to coax him into joining her for an evening of opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Ginsburg said his attendance was a demonstration of support in the aftermath her cancer surgery.