Senate Panel OKs Ginsburg Nomination


Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg won a unanimous endorsement from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, paving the way for her likely confirmation by the full Senate next week.

The 18-0 vote came only six weeks after her nomination, and it showed again that President Clinton made a deft choice in selecting the 60-year-old appeals court judge.

The committee’s liberal Democrats praised Ginsburg as a trail-blazing advocate for women’s rights, while conservative Republicans lauded her record of restraint on the bench.

“As a justice, she will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Justice Thurgood Marshall, one of the nation’s constitutional giants, who began his career as a leading advocate in the struggle against discrimination,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).


Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said he is convinced that Ginsburg “respects the proper role of the judiciary in our system.” Despite her liberal record as an attorney, in 13 years of rulings on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia, Ginsburg often sided with conservative colleagues such as Robert H. Bork and now-Justice Antonin Scalia, Hatch said.

As a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg cannot be both another Marshall and another Bork, but only a few committee Republicans voiced doubts about Ginsburg’s answers during her three days of hearings.

She endorsed the right to abortion--the first nominee to do so explicitly--but she refused to state her view on the constitutionality of the death penalty.

Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said Ginsburg is “one of the brightest nominees ever to come before this committee” and is the “embodiment of a proper judicial temperament.”


The unanimous praise for Ginsburg contrasted sharply with the scene two years ago when the panel met to vote on the nomination of Clarence Thomas. The members split, 7 to 7, but agreed to send the nomination to the Senate floor. A week later it was revealed that law professor Anita Faye Hill had accused Thomas of sexual harassment, leading to another round of contentious hearings before he was finally confirmed as a justice.

Barring an objection from a senator, the full Senate is likely to confirm Ginsburg’s nomination next week.