As is the case around the conclusion of every Supreme Court term, rumors have begun to swirl about potential retirements and who might be tapped to fill any resulting vacancies.
This year is no different, and the names of Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have been floated as among those who may step down from the high court, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says those predictions are unlikely to come true, as the Washington Examiner reported.
Rumor mill churns
It was first suggested by Washington Post journalist Robert Costa in early July that the White House was making quiet preparations to nominate a replacement for Justice Thomas, who was reported to be contemplating retirement from the bench following the current term.
However, conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt informed Costa that while Thomas wasn’t going anywhere right now, Justice Alito was the one to watch for a potential retirement this year.
In a recent interview with the Examiner, though, Sen. Cruz expressed his doubts and disagreement with Hewitt’s assessment and Costa’s rumor.
Cruz: Retirements unlikely
“I don’t think it’ll happen. I’ve heard the same rumors,” Cruz told the Examiner. “There’s chattering, and actually, to be fair, every June and July Washington is sort of consumed by those chattering rumors. So the Supreme Court term comes to an end, and everyone is like ‘All right, is there going to be vacancy.’
“Personally, I don’t think either one is going to, but they might. Look, it’s a decision that each justice makes for his or herself,” the senator added.
Cruz, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee that would handle any Supreme Court nominations, also addressed the seemingly perpetual rumors that liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who with increasing frequency is dealing with health issues at her advanced age, was on the verge of retirement as well.
Noting that Ginsburg was “tough as nails,” Cruz said, “I don’t think Justice Ginsburg will voluntarily step down.”
“I think the timing of her leaving the court is in the hands of the good Lord, that as long as she is able physically, she’ll be there. So my guess is I don’t think we’ll have a vacancy this year,” he added, as the Examiner reported.
For what it is worth, the Supreme Court announced on Monday that Justice Ginsburg had been admitted to a local hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to be treated for a “possible infection” related to a stent in her bile duct that was implanted last year.
There is no doubt that, particularly this year, any vacancy on the Supreme Court would result in a ferocious ideological battle over a replacement nominee, but assuming Sen. Cruz is correct in his assessment of the situation, that is a fight we will probably avoid in 2020.