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It is now certain the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal nationwide and is supported by the current majority, will endure for at least four more years.
The current nine justices are divided politically as well as ideologically. Conservatives Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were appointed by Republican presidents. Liberals Ginsburg, Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were named by Democrats.
Ginsburg, who has survived colorectal and pancreatic cancer, said in an August interview with Reuters that her health was good. She undergoes regular check-ups and works with a personal trainer.
Appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, she has vowed to remain on the bench at least three more years, to match the record of Justice Louis Brandeis, one of her judicial heroes, who retired at age 82 in 1939, after nearly 23 years.
But she has added, “You have to take it year by year.”