Senate, 96-3, Approves Ginsburg as 107th Supreme Court Justice

By Joan Biskupic
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 4, 1993

The Senate approved Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the 107th justice, and second woman, on the Supreme Court yesterday, completing one of the most harmonious court confirmations in recent history.

The vote was 96 to 3. The three Republicans who opposed Ginsburg -- Sens. Jesse Helms (N.C.), Robert C. Smith (N.H.) and Don Nickles (Okla.) -- protested her support for abortion rights. The only senator who did not vote, Donald W. Riegle Jr. (D-Mich.), was in Michigan attending the funeral of Rep. Paul B. Henry (R-Mich.).

"It feels wonderful," Ginsburg told reporters as she visited the Supreme Court yesterday afternoon to begin making arrangements for her chambers there and swearing-in next Tuesday. Later, at a brief appearance with President Clinton in the Rose Garden, she deflected questions about what kind of justice she expects to be and said, "I'll do the very best I can in the job."

Clinton, who is the first Democrat in 26 years to make a high court appointment, said, "I have no doubt {she} will be a great justice." He said he expected her to move the court neither to the "right" nor the "left," but "forward."

Clinton's nomination of Ginsburg followed a highly publicized and sometimes awkward search that had focused on, among others, New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and, even down to the wire, U.S. appeals court Judge Stephen G. Breyer.

But once Clinton chose Ginsburg, the appeals judge for the D.C. Circuit was embraced by senators of both parties as a "consensus" choice. The Senate was still feeling the fallout from the nasty 1991 confirmation fight over Clarence Thomas. As Ginsburg's nomination progressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee and then to the floor, favorable reviews grew.

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