President Trump has predicted he will be able to appoint four Supreme Court justices during his time in office.
In February, Trump filled Antonin Scalia’s seat with Neil Gorsuch, after Republicans refused to vote on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Looking forward, Trump believes that Anthony Kennedy will retire and that the court’s two female justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, are on borrowed time because of their health.
On Monday, Jonathan Swan of Axios recounted an unnamed source’s conversation with Trump:
“Ok,” one source told Trump, “so that’s two. Who are the others?”
“Ginsburg,” Trump replied. “What does she weigh? 60 pounds?”
“Who’s the fourth?” the source asked.
“Sotomayor,” Trump said, referring to the relatively recently-appointed Obama justice, whose name is rarely, if ever, mentioned in speculation about the next justice to be replaced. “Her health,” Trump explained. “No good. Diabetes.”
Sotomayor, 61, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 7. She controls the condition with daily insulin injections.
Ginsburg, 84, has survived both colon and pancreatic cancer and had a stent placed in a coronary artery in 2014. She has been cancer free since 2009. The justice’s slight frame belies a tough hide: Politico reports that she works out with a personal trainer twice a week, bench-pressing 70 pounds and doing one-legged squats and planks. Their 27-year-old reporter tried her routine and said, “It nearly broke me.” This fall, Ginsburg’s personal trainer will release a book, The RBG Workout, outlining her fitness regimen.
Trump making additional appointments to the Supreme Court is a nightmare scenario for Democrats, as the court is split 4-4 between liberal and conservative, with Kennedy often delivering the swing vote.
Ginsburg has expressed no plans to retire. “There is only one prediction that is entirely safe about the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous,” she said at Georgetown Law School on Wednesday. This year, the Supreme Court will hear cases on gerrymandering, Trump’s travel ban and gay civil rights, in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.