NEW YORK _ Big business won't necessarily have a friend if
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
But it won't have a foe either.
After 13 years as a federal appeals court judge, the
trailblazing women's rights lawyer is not easily pigeonholed on
business-related issues, interviews and a review of her court
Ginsburg's non-ideological bent, which lawyers say is
consistent with her approach on other legal matters, is evident
in rulings involving antitrust, environmental, regulatory and
"There are some judges you can always say will vote for
business or will vote against business. You can never say that
about Ruth Ginsburg," said Peter Huber, a law clerk for Ginsburg
in 1982-83 and now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
"If the law is reasonably clear on one side, that side with
Ruth Ginsburg will win," Huber said. "She will give you the
answer that is in the statutes or in the (regulations)."
With a meticulous approach to complex issues, Ginsburg, unlike
other judges, has not appeared influenced by perceived personal
political or ideological beliefs in cases before the U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in Washington.
While appointed by President Carter, Ginsburg sided with
appointees of President Reagan in several cases in the early
1980s reducing burdens on business under the federal Clean Air
In 1986, she joined two decisions against strict enforcement
of antitrust statutes written by Robert Bork, whose views _
including those opinions _ were attacked during hearings on his
failed Supreme Court nomination.
Ginsburg also voted in the majority in a case criticizing
federal attempts to block a merger of two drilling companies.
That opinion was written by another conservative judge assailed
during Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas.
"It does show she has a capacity to go in either direction,"
said Alan Slobodin of the Washington Legal Foundation, a
pro-business interest group. "She's really willing to look at
both sides of the issues."
In June 1988, Ginsburg voted to uphold a federal rule lowering
fuel-efficiency standards for 1986 model-year cars, backing the
auto industry and rejecting interest group claims that the
government was undermining energy conservation.
This January, however, she voted against the auto industry in
a decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to
require automakers to equip new cars and light trucks with
canisters to trap vapors that escape when gasoline is pumped.
Despite her antitrust votes, Ginsburg in 1989 dissented from
an opinion upholding Justice Department approval of a joint
operating agreement for two Detroit newspapers. …