Many times during their 15-year-long hissy fit over the insane and insulting suggestion that their country should pay its debts, Argentina’s leaders must have mused—rightly—that the whole thing would be so much easier for them if the 70-something going on 80-something year-old judge overseeing their case would just go ahead and die. They even suggested something to that effect to President Obama. But he was a former constitutional law professor before he was a former president, and so knew that the only person who could take U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa off the case was Judge Griesa himself. That was not going to happen, as Griesa was just having too much fun, according to his buddy, National Revieweditor Rich Lowry.
Tom enjoyed a newspaper picture of a derisive float mocking him at an Argentine street parade. It was an occasion for great amusement.
It also helped that Griesa was, you know, right, as his superiors at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court routinely confirmed. And also the less funny, to Griesa, anyway, issue of Argentina openly promising to flagrantly flout whatever he said, anyway. So Griesa didn’t die, continued to hold Argentina’s feet to the fire and gave it the choice of adhering to its obligations or defaulting (it chose the latter). Having thus exhausted all other options, Argentina finally elected a president who thought maybe permanently shutting his country out of international debt markets to avoid having to hold a conversation with Paul Singer in an effort to save face was perhaps not the best course of action.
Having seen that, and having seen Argentina triumphantly re-enter the global sovereign debt market as a result, Thomas Griesa could finally go to his reward, which he has, at the age of 87.