An interview with Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg.
July 28, 2020 9:41 AM   Subscribe

"Those laws, artificially restricting what women can do, will not come back. Ever."
Take us back to when you first started, when you wanted to practice as a lawyer but it was difficult for you to do that. In the 1950s, you were attending Harvard Law School. You were one of nine women in a class numbering over 500.
posted by infini (21 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
In addition, Slate just published The Class of RBG, a set of interviews with and reporting on the other 9 women in the Harvard Law class of 1959.
posted by Frayed Knot at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2020 [11 favorites]

"Young people are my hope. My granddaughter, who is here tonight, is doing what she can to make things better in our society. Think of Malala Yousafzai or Greta Thunberg. These young people are fired up. They want our country and world to be what it should be and to respect the rights, safety and dignity of all who inhabit planet Earth. Young people who care about the wellbeing of others shore up my spirits."

After a lifetime of accomplishment, it is a mark of her great success to be able to confidently say the future is bright, will continue to be bright, and to be proud to have such people to follow her trail.
posted by bonehead at 10:25 AM on July 28, 2020 [13 favorites]

The weight on her shoulders. To be the last standing legal defender against everything she abhors. I want a 50 metre tall statue of RBG planned and erected somewhere.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2020 [16 favorites]

Frayed Knot, I really liked your link, thank you.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

PLZ PLZ PLZ PLZ may she live a longer life.....till at the very least Jan 20, 2021.
posted by lalochezia at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

May she outlive all of us!
To teach future generations about how true change is achieved
posted by dantheclamman at 2:55 PM on July 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think she had a moral obligation to retire when Obama could have replaced her instead of putting our rights one elderly multiple victim of cancer heartbeat away from another Kavanaugh on the Court.

I love her and she's amazing, but her decision to risk us all on her survival seems egomaniacal. Or a form of hubris. Or something.
posted by sotonohito at 3:50 PM on July 28, 2020 [14 favorites]

I think she had a moral obligation to retire when Obama could have replaced her.

Oh. And when was that?

Obama barely, barely managed to get through two appointments in 2009 and 2010. After that, it became impossible without a commitment to do away with the filibuster. She would have no guarantee that the Democratic senators would do that. So you think she should have resigned and just crossed her fingers?
posted by JackFlash at 4:12 PM on July 28, 2020 [11 favorites]

Oh. And when was that?

2009 and 2010, like you just said.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:37 PM on July 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

My college roommate was/is RBG's nephew, and wrote the screenplay that eventually became On the Basis of Sex. I eventually attended Georgetown Law, where her husband Marty Ginsburg was a professor, though he passed shortly after i graduated. The most memorable thing that her nephew Dan told me about her is that she talks slowly, and that she waits an uncomfortable amount of time before answering questions, which in most other people would come across as unintelligent or off-putting, but in her case is just being a person who wants to respond as accurately as possible without mis-speaking.

This has stuck with me w/r/t any interview she gives. This is a person who, more than maybe anyone else, doesn't mis-speak.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:44 PM on July 28, 2020 [14 favorites]

2009 and 2010, like you just said.

Do not blame a woman for Mitch McConnell's misogyny and racism. I notice a lot less agita among liberals for Anthony Kennedy's decision to retire, the decision that gave us Kavanaugh.

My favorite RBG story isn't in the interview, but is Washington lore. As you may know, she enjoys opera, and one night walking back to her car from the Kennedy Center, she was mugged by a purse snatcher. And this tiny little lady chased down the guy, caught him, but he escaped again before the police arrived.

True? Maybe. But a great story. And she does work out every day, push-ups and planks. This ain't some doddering grandma ready to sit by the fire and knit.
posted by basalganglia at 2:40 AM on July 29, 2020 [6 favorites]

Kennedy is, and always has been, a Republican. We expect no better of him because, well, he's a Republican. He was only the "swing vote" because the other Republican justices are so radically right wing and nakedly partisan that even a right wing scumbag like Kennedy disagreed with them from time to time, but not (as in Bush v Gore) when it really mattered to advancing the Republican agenda.

Nor do I blame Ginsburg for McConnell being awful.

I **DO** blame her for being so lost in her own fantasy of the Supreme Court as a magic place of non-partisanship, or her own hubris in thinking that her voice was so uniquely special that we needed it until the instant she died, or whatever, that she decided it was totes fine for her to set herself up to die in office when Trump could be the one who replaced her.

If a political non-entity like me can see that the Supreme Court is utterly essential and that letting the Republicans appoint more Justices would be catastrophic for the nation, then she damn sure can because she's better connected and more politically astute (and probably smarter) than me.

Yet, in what was quite possibly the single most important decision of her entire life, she chose to chance a Republican President replacing her rather than retire at a reasonable age.

Much the same goes for Breyer, but unlike Ginsburg he doesn't get so much hagiography so we don't tend to talk about his equally selfish, egotistical, and possibly catastrophic, decision to stay on the Court long past when he should have retired.

I'd argue that any Democratic Supreme Court Justice has a moral obligation to retire when they are over 70, or have a history of serious illness, and the President is a Democrat.

For literally my entire life the Supreme Court has been dominated by Republicans with, sometimes, a tiny hint of decency coming from a single Republican who isn't quite so awful as the rest and therefore acts as a "swing vote". Tipping that from a 5-4 Republican majority to a 6-3 Republican majority (or, gods help us, a 7-2 Republican majority), would be the end of civil rights in America and every Democrat on the Supreme Court knows it. They are literally all that stands between us and open, naked, Fascism and they need to acknowledge that responsibility and assure that every Democrat on the Court is as young and healthy as possible.

I'd argue that Sotomayor is getting old enough that if Biden wins she ought to give serious consideration to retirement sometime in his first year, especially if we get a majority in the Senate. And that Biden should not nominate anyone over the age of 40. The goal is to maximize the number of Democrats on the Court and the length of time we can keep that maximum number of Democrats sitting on the Court.

To a large extent the individual Democratic Justices are interchangeable. No one should be thought of, or think of themselves as, irreplaceable.

Is the goal to keep Ginsburg personally on the Court until her heart finally fails, or is the goal to keep the maximum possible number of votes for Roe on the Court at all times? I argue for the latter.

Hell, I'm not really all that sure Kagan, at 60, is young enough to keep on the Court if Biden wins. I could totally back a complete replacement of the entire liberal wing of the Court with people under the age of 40. We are talking about the survival of freedom in America, and quite likely the survival of the entire human species. Having that depend on elderly people with serious health problems is foolhardy.
posted by sotonohito at 4:52 AM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

the Obama picked Merrick Garland would have been on the supreme court today if the nazi turtle McConnell hadn't pulled his crap.

at the rbg exhibit in LA there was a panel describing how her image has been used, including tattoos....with the notation: like most jewish grandmothers, she prefers you not do this.

I liked the documentary better than the biopic.
posted by brujita at 5:01 AM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

If McConnell is still in charge of the Senate, he will absolutely hold her seat empty until he's out of power or dead or he gets another Republican president. If we get a D President and R Senate, and she resigns in January, there will just be an 8 justice court without her vote for the foreseeable future. Sotomayor resigning too, leaving a 7 justice court, is too horrible to even imagine.
posted by fritley at 8:01 AM on July 29, 2020 [5 favorites]

And that Biden should not nominate anyone over the age of 40.

Uh, is there a pool of millennial federal circuit court judges I don't know about?
posted by blerghamot at 1:13 PM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Mitch "follow the rules" McConnell pulled a rule out of his ass to block Merrick Garland's nomination. You can bet your sweet life he would not have let RBG be replaced with someone even remotely as progressive. The Dems had a filibuster-proof majority for only 6 months (July 2009-Jan 2010), and I'm 100% convinced that, had RBG taken advantage of that six month honeymoon to retire, McConnell would have found some obscure 18th century legislation that hearings for judicial nominations can only happen on the first Thursday after the third Monday, when there's a full moon. You know, like how we vote.

As it is, she decided to hang around and decided cases like Safford School District v. Redding (2009) -- are you allowed to strip-search a 13-year-old girl? (no) -- and Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) -- can TX restrict abortion access? (no) -- so I'm gonna say her time on the court in the last decade has gotten her a lot of Good Place points.
posted by basalganglia at 1:54 PM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

I agree that she should have retired when Obama could have replaced her. That is not to take anything away from her; it's because she's not an immortal (I believe). It was one of the first things that began to concern me early in 2016, when it was already too late; by then, everyone was under the delusion that Hillary had already won. Anyway, please don't die in the next six months. If Trump is re-elected, I'm not sure it will matter anyway.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:11 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

*basalganglia highlights sotonohito's comment*

*CTRL+F "Breyer," the other Clinton appointee, who is just five years younger than Ginsburg and old enough to be Elena Kagan's father*

"No results found"

*basalganglia muses over coffee on the implications of saying that all of the women on the Court, but not an 81-year-old man, are past it and should give up their careers for their families society.*
posted by basalganglia at 4:34 AM on July 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

I literally some a paragraph talking about Breyer and the need for him to retire. Perhaps your browser's search function is broken?
posted by sotonohito at 6:07 AM on July 31, 2020

Apologies. I see it now. I blame the lack of coffee this morning. I basically shouldn't do anything before coffee.
posted by basalganglia at 7:03 AM on July 31, 2020

No worries. It is a common thing so you're justified in suspecting.
posted by sotonohito at 7:51 AM on July 31, 2020

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