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Reinforcing the message that she might not leave before her health requires it, she mused of another former colleague, “I wonder if Sandra regrets stepping down when she did?”
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in January 2006 at age 75 to take care of her husband, John, who had Alzheimer’s disease. He died in 2009.
Ginsburg, who picked up the mantle of the liberals after Stevens’ departure, took the unusual step of reading three dissenting statements from the bench in the final week of the term. Dissenting justices typically issue their statements only in writing. During one of them, on June 24, the media commented on the antics of Justice Samuel Alito, who had written the majority opinion in a job discrimination case Ginsburg was protesting, Vance v. Ball State University. As she spoke, he conspicuously rolled his eyes and screwed up his face.
Alito did not respond to a request for comment.
Ginsburg said she was oblivious, and only learned of his behavior from her law clerks. When she read another dissenting statement from the bench the next day, “he did not make any faces.”
Was she insulted? Her answer appeared to allude to Alito’s nationally televised grimace and mouthing of “Not true” in response to comments Obama made in his 2010 State of the Union speech about a court campaign-finance ruling.
“I’m in such good company,” said Ginsburg. “I’m in the company of the president.”