Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Resignation Odds Shorten, as 85-Year-Old Misses Third Consecutive Day

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has missed the first three argument days of 2019, and that's fueling online betting speculation that she might soon resign.

Supreme Court odds Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg was absent from the Supreme Court this week after recovering from cancer surgery. (Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

PredictIt, the online exchange where bettors can buy and sell shares of political outcomes, has a market asking which of the nine Supreme Court justices will leave next. Ginsburg is the heavy betting favorite, with her shares currently going for 77 cents. 70-year-old Clarence Thomas has the next highest share price at 22 cents. Stephen Breyer is a distant third at just four cents.

The odds of Ginsburg departing the court have steadily shortened over the last three months. In November, cancerous nodules were found in the 85-year-old's lungs. She underwent surgery in December.

Ginsburg's absence this week was the first time in her 25-year career on the Supreme Court that she missed an oral argument.

Oldest Justices

Ruther Bader Ginsburg is the fourth-oldest Supreme Court justice in history.

3. Roger Taney – died at 87 years, seven months

2. John Paul Stevens – retired at 90 years, two months

1. Oliver Wendell Holmes – retired at 90 years, 10 months

Ginsburg is just the second female to be appointed to the Supreme Court after Sandra Day O'Connor. She's the subject of a new movie titled “On the Basis of Sex,” a biographical film based on her life. 

Gambling Views

Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Since then, she's ruled on several issues that have impacted the gaming industry. One of the most notable occurred just last year.

The Supreme Court heard arguments against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in December 2017. Attorneys for New Jersey said the longstanding federal sports betting ban ran afoul of anti-commandeering interpretations of the Tenth Amendment.

In a May ruling, six of the nine justices agreed, and struck down PASPA. Ginsburg was in the minority.

Congress permissibly exercised its authority to regulate commerce by instructing states and private parties to refrain from operating sports-gambling schemes,” Ginsburg wrote in her dissent. “Deleting the alleged ‘commandeering' directions would free the statute to accomplish just what Congress legitimately sought to achieve: stopping sports-gambling regimes.”

Seven states have joined Nevada in permitting full-scale sports betting in the wake of the PASPA repeal.

Trump Legacy

PredictIt bettors don't think President Donald Trump will win reelection. “Which party wins the presidency in 2020?” currently has Democratic shares at 62 cents, and Republican shares at 38 cents.

Regardless of whether the former casino owner maintains his White House occupancy, Trump's DC tenure will be likely felt for many years, if not decades, to come.

Trump has already appointed two Supreme Court justices (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh). Should Ginsburg retire, the 45th president will be responsible for appointing a third of the court.

That would be the most appointments by a president since Ronald Reagan named four justices.

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