President Trump is reportedly predicting that he will appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices by the end of his first term, including replacements for liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
“Ginsburg,” Trump said, according to Axios. “What does she weigh? 60 pounds?”
Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch as a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia this year, and it is widely expected that Justice Anthony Kennedy (81) will retire in the next few years, giving Trump a second Supreme Court appointment.
But according to Axios, he also has his eye on the 84-year-old Ginsburg — the leading liberal on the court. Ginsburg had hinted she was holding out hope for a Democratic Senate and a Hillary Clinton White House before retiring.
“It’s likely that the next president, whoever she will be, will have a few appointments to make,” Ginsburg said in a July 2016 interview with the Associated Press.
With Trump now president, retirement may be less attractive to her. This year she said in an interview with the BBC: “At my age you have to take it year by year. I know I’m OK. What will be next year?”
“I’m hopeful, however, because my most senior colleague the one who most recently retired, Justice John Paul Stevens, stepped down at age 90. So I have a way to go,” she said.
The fourth justice Trump thinks he may end up appointing a replacement for is the relatively young Justice Sonia Sotomayor. At 63 years old, Sotomayor is unlikely to be on many SCOTUS-watchers’ list for a retirement. However, Trump reportedly believes her health may put her off the court sooner rather than later.
“Her health,” Trump reportedly said. “No good. Diabetes.”
The outlet notes that Sotomayor has talked about her struggles with type-1 diabetes, but says that it is managed and under control. Justice Stephen Breyer, at 79, may seem a more likely candidate for retirement.
If Trump’s predictions were to come true, it would radically remake the nation’s highest court. While replacements for the conservative Scalia and Kennedy would mainly be like-for-like, conservative replacements for the liberal Sotomayor and Ginsburg would likely swing the court heavily in the favor of conservatives and toward a more originalist approach to the Constitution.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY