Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Praise of Notorious RBG

 

Yes, I am serious. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflected an older liberal center-left sensibility that is largely missing, or driven underground, in the current political fever. I offer in evidence three notable instances, while recognizing the last must be qualified. A Rolling Stone interview with the authors who created the Notorious RBG persona suggests they saw some of the same attributes I praise.*

Most recently, in February of this year, with politics already at fever pitch, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shocked and discomforted the left at Georgetown Law School, as she participated in a program reflecting on ratification of the 19th Amendment. Recently, it became fashionable for Democrat-controlled states to claim they were now ratifying the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment. They expected to win by litigation, but Notorious RBG shot them down:

Speaking at Georgetown University Law Center at an event co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, Ginsburg poured cold water on the renewed hopes for the 1972 amendment becoming part of the U.S. Constitution after Virginia became the 38th state in January to ratify the measure that says “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

“I would like to see a new beginning,” Ginsburg told her interviewer at the event, Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals at San Francisco. “I would like to start over. There is too much controversy about latecomers [like] Virginia long after the deadline passed. Plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said, ‘We have changed our minds’?”

Supporters of the ERA say the ratification deadline was invalid or that Congress could again extend the deadline, thus accepting the ratification. But as Ginsburg noted, five states that had ratified the amendment later rescinded their votes. In a Jan. 6 advisory opinion, the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of legal counsel concluded that the 1972 ERA measure had expired, and that Congress would have to start over.

See the Three Martini Lunch podcast episode “RBG & ERA, Bernie & Big Spending, Steyer & the Minimum Wage,” for more commentary on this event.

In another hot political season, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the NFL kneelers “really dumb.” Katie Couric interviewed the Notorious RBG for Yahoo! News early October 2016.

When asked by Couric how she feels about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and others athletes, refusing to stand for the anthem, Ginsburg replied, “I think it’s really dumb of them.”

“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg elaborated. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

Couric then asked, “But when it comes to these football players, you may find their actions offensive, but what you’re saying is, it’s within their rights to exercise those actions?”

“Yes,” said Ginsburg. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

Here, as with the ERA, Justice Ginsburg voiced a commonsense American perspective, not distorted by her own partisanship. Yes, she insisted on at least public self-deception about her and her fellow jurists’ lack of ideological preconceptions, masked by conflating two distinct measurements: party identification and ideology. Party identification measures how people choose to self-identify on a spectrum of Strong Republican to Strong Democrat, with Independent in the middle. This dates back to the earliest American National Election Surveys in the 1950s, an academic project that has nothing to do with Gallup and other horse-race polls. Political ideology, on the other hand, is traditionally cast as a scale from extremely liberal to extremely conservative, with moderate in the middle. Over time, liberal and moderate self-identification has been found to mostly align with Democrat self-identification, while conservative goes mostly with Republican self-identification. Chief Justice Roberts practices the same sleight of hand as did Justice Ginsburg, claiming that judges are not affected by the party of the president who nominated them for the bench.

Setting aside that rhetorical sleight of hand, we see a mature Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already in her eighth decade of life, publicly defending ideas that were already passing from the mainstream of Democrat politics. A 2015 interview of the Notorious RBG authors, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, has them pushing back on simple labels for Justice Ginsburg’s motivations.

Some people think of RBG as being a radical progressive, while others have characterized her as a moderate. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg cannot be called a liberal or a conservative; she has proved herself too thoughtful for such labels,” said Bill Clinton when he nominated her to the Supreme Court. So what is she, really?

SK: Both. In her principles, she’s much more radical than I think a lot of people realize. She’s fought for ideals that even today may seem pretty radical, and at the time were simply unheard of: the idea that marriage could be an egalitarian institution, the idea that gender norms really don’t mean anything and are not helpful to anyone. One of the quotes we have in the book is that if she didn’t have this sort of conventional, traditional life with a husband and children, she would be seen as a flaming radical because of what she was working for.

But at the same time, so much of her persona, so much of how she actually sees the work she’s doing and getting done, is by making compromises, by being tactical, by being pragmatic, and trying to figure out: What is the long-term strategy? How are we going to move toward a society that is more equal, more egalitarian, but without alienating the people who may disagree with you along the way?

Finally, we get to the point of qualified praise. In 2000, we saw the Democrats try to steal the presidential election by Democrats in Democrat precincts and counties finding ballots that they could claim were unclear and then divining the intent of the voters until the count came outright. A Democrat appointed majority state supreme court green-lighted the caper. The Notorious RBG joined a unanimous court decision that made the Florida Supreme Court redo their work in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board. This was a technical case about the interpretation of state and federal law, the Florida Constitution, and the United States Constitution. Justice Ginsburg surely knew the end result would be a lesser chance of her ideology being advanced, through a Democrat appointing more ideologically like-minded justices to the federal bench. Yet, she joined the rest of the court in an initial united front.

Yes, shortly thereafter, we got to Bush v. Gore, where the leftists on the court all lined up on one side, including two foolishly appointed by Republican presidents, while the five moderate to conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents all voted to end the Hanging Chad Caper. Or perhaps it is fairer to grant “liberal” and “moderate” to the four and “conservative” to the five. In that case, it should still be no surprise that, when the chips were really down, the nine in black robes sorted as the general public does in serious surveys: “moderate” and “liberal” overwhelmingly aligning with “Democrat,” while “conservative” overwhelmingly align with “Republican” self-identification.

Republican Senators may show their true colors, and seek to throw the election to the Democrats so Mitch and his gang do not have to fulfill decades of false promises to pro-life and socially conservative voters. If so, we will see a 4-4 court or Roberts joining the left. to ensure there will never be any real future threat to the ruling elite’s social and political agenda. They will doubtless revel in citing the lengthy Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent in Bush v. Gore. Do not doubt that Roberts will smile as he pronounces that Bush v. Gore is just not the sort of precedent that must be scrupulously followed.

As President Trump battles and seeks to drag the Senate Republicans across the finish line to finally keeping decades of promises, actually shifting the ideological balance of the court from center-left to center-right, he and his allies should remember to praise where praise is due.** Notorious RBG should be praised for her old-fashioned liberal positions, so far out of line with this year’s Democrats, including Biden-Harris 2020. Her 2016 position on anthem kneelers and her 2020 position on gaming the constitutional amendment process set her far apart from today’s Democrats. It matters whether leaders of opposing parties and ideological views believe the path to victory is through peacefully persuading other citizens or through violence and the threat of violence. Will the year ahead of us be full of compulsion, of government guns (criminal and civil law) turned on you and me, or of argument without the threat of death and destruction?

President Trump set the right tone in his initial remark, captured that very evening by his campaign in a tribute video, and in his official statement. The first reports of her death went out across the news media while President Trump was in the middle of a rally.

Remarks by President Trump Before Air Force One Departure
Issued on: September 19, 2020
Bemidji Regional Airport
Bemidji, Minnesota
8:13 P.M. CDT

Q Thank you, sir. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away.

THE PRESIDENT: She just died?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Wow. I didn’t know that. I just — you’re telling me now for the first time.

She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I’m actually saddened to hear that. I am saddened to hear that.

Thank you very much.

Statement from the President on the Passing of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Issued on: September 18, 2020

Today, our Nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served more than 27 years as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States—notably just the second woman to be appointed to the Court. She was a loving wife to her late husband, Martin, and a dedicated mother to her two children.

Renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view. Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds.

A fighter to the end, Justice Ginsburg battled cancer, and other very long odds, throughout her remarkable life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ginsburg family and their loved ones during this difficult time. May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world.


* Shana Knizhnik created the Notorious RBG meme on a Tumblr blog account, still active today but largely duplicated by the Instagram account of the same name. Compare to the Ted Cruz Thug Life meme originating in 2016.

The most prominent Ginsburg meme is that of “Notorious R.B.G.,” a play on the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., which features a visage of the justice wearing a crown and her trademark lace collar. It began as a blog by former New York University law student Shana Knizhnik in summer 2013, when Ginsburg delivered a scathing dissent in defense of voting rights in states with histories of racial discrimination.

** Granted we should all wish that the move would be in favor of a court majority consistently following the Constitution, rather than treating it as the basis for creative writing exercises, a point made by Henry Racette in “About that Vacancy…” I think the two things, political ideology and view of the Constitution, align much like political ideology and party identification.

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  1. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Thank you for fleshing out the judicial side of Ruth Ginsberg in a way that presents her as being three dimensional, rather than as an individual over shadowed by the label “liberal.”

    There was a time when being liberal on issues meant you wanted to take the nation out of the dark ages. There is no one on this board who grew up as a child working in a coal mine for pennies a day. Most people here have benefited from the 40 hour a week work week as well. Having the barriers come down to open up education and job opportunities for women and people of color is admirable as well.

    I am pleased to read she held to her principles on various issues like the EPA amendment. Perhaps the biggest concern I have had with her is that she was allowed to be considered an active SCOTUS member when her health and her age clearly stopped her from participating.

    Although there is a great deal of value in having a SCOTUS member hold the position for life, once a judge reaches the point where their legal assistants are actually doing all the work, it should be made clear that the judge is to retire. Whether there is any practical way to have that happen, I couldn’t say.

     

     

    • #1
    • September 21, 2020, at 1:50 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. A-Squared Coolidge

    Saw this on FB, and thought it worth asking here.

    Question about RBG: It has been my impression that RBG was been extremely political making decisions based on preferred outcomes rather than the law. However, I am willing to be convinced differently. Does anyone recall a time or case when Ginsburg ruled against a policy she preferred because it was not consistent with the constitution? 

    • #2
    • September 21, 2020, at 5:43 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Hoyacon Member

    Really well done, CAB.

    Clearly the Justice–likely because of her generation–had common-sense perspectives on some issues (see the kneeling controversy). However, I’ve been trying, without success, to find some examples of common-sense perspectives in applying the law in a decision–something that might approach originalism/textualism. Conservatives rightfully have concerns about “unreliable” Justices appointed by Republicans, but I suspect liberals did not need to be so concerned about Justice Ginsburg. 

    • #3
    • September 21, 2020, at 6:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Rodin Member

    Clifford A. Brown:

    A 2015 interview of the Notorious RBG authors, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, has them pushing back on simple labels for Justice Ginsburg’s motivations: …”One of the quotes we have in the book is that if she didn’t have this sort of conventional, traditional life with a husband and children, she would be seen as a flaming radical because of what she was working for.”

    I think this is the key. You may have an outlook on the perfectibility of man that is utopian, but the family dynamic reminds you of how problematic simply being doctrinaire can be. Success requires a slower process that she could see being played out in front of her every day. 

     

     

    • #4
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Bookwormroom is a lawyer’s blog, and states that Ginsburg’s decisions were shoddy and part of the reason that Bookworm left the Left. What I’m quoting below speaks to other things:

    6. Ginsburg had no respect for the Constitution she was sworn to defend. I have a link somewhere of Ginsburg saying that, if she had the choice, she would have done it differently. She didn’t say so explicitly, but she implied that doesn’t like our Constitution because it is built upon a weak(ish) central government and inherent individual rights. She would prefer something along the lines of the EU’s constitution, which has a massive centralized government micromanaging individual lives, with “rights” being predicated upon people’s relative situation vis-a-vis the government class’s preferences. Moreover, despite being labeled as rights, they’re clearly mere privileges that the government can bestow and withdraw as it wishes.

    7. Ginsburg’s politicizing the Court is part of why we’re at the situation we are today, where a Justice’s death can throw an upcoming election into an uproar. When judges legislate, as she and her fellow leftists on the Court have been doing, the Court takes on oversized importance. For decades, leftists who couldn’t get their fellow citizens to vote on their policies were able to use the Court as a super-legislative body. This is not what the Constitution intended, and it means that we Americans are being ruled by a cabal of 9 people who hold their positions for life. They are, in essence, a form of non-democratic absolute monarchy.

    While Scalia’s regard for Ginsburg speaks to his capacity for friendship (and unless he was deluding himself, for Ginsburg’s as well,) the Supreme Court has become intrinsically anti-Constitutional. Nine justices may be the least bad way to do it, a Scalia or a Thomas may be able to mitigate the damage. The next time we see a Democrat in the White House and a Democrat majority in the Senate, I suspect that the Supreme Court will be packed with Leftists.

    8. Ginsburg was a terribly selfish lady. Apparently she said on her deathbed that she didn’t want Trump to nominate her successor. If she didn’t want a Republican to do that, she should have retired on Obama’s watch. At the very least, despite a Republican Senate (it was Republican in his last two years, right?), Obama could still have pushed through a mildly leftist judge. After all, the Senate was a RINO funhouse then and, if Obama had nominated a black man, even a communist, they would have said yes.

    • #5
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:40 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. A-Squared Coolidge

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    8. Ginsburg was a terribly selfish lady. Apparently she said on her deathbed that she didn’t want Trump to nominate her successor. If she didn’t want a Republican to do that, she should have retired on Obama’s watch. At the very least, despite a Republican Senate (it was Republican in his last two years, right?), Obama could still have pushed through a mildly leftist judge. After all, the Senate was a RINO funhouse then and, if Obama had nominated a black man, even a communist, they would have said yes.

    This has been my thinking. If she wanted a Democrat to nominate her successor, she should have retired when Obama was President. I have no respect for her “deathbed plea” when it was entirely in her power to allow a Democrat to nominate her replacement. By clinging onto power for purely selfish reasons, she rolled the dice and came up short.

    • #6
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Rodin Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    By clinging onto power for purely selfish reasons, she rolled the dice and came up short.

    Boy is this a pattern in the Age of Trump: Russian Hoax (Trump 1, Dems 0), Ukraine Hoax/Impeachment (Trump 1, Dems 0), Peace Deals (Trump 1, Dems 0), Trade Deals (Trump 1, Dems 0), COVID-19 (pending), Economy pre-COVID-19 (Trump 1, Dems 0), Economy post-COVID-19 (pending), Supreme Court (Trump 1, Dems 0). It’s as if President Trump has become the House in the Political Casino — you never beat the House.

    • #7
    • September 21, 2020, at 8:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Ontheleftcoast Member

    I see that Glenn Reynolds agrees with what I was driving at in my comment to #7, except he says it much better:

    When your political system can be thrown into hysteria by something as predictable as the death of an octogenarian with advanced cancer, there’s something wrong with your political system. And when your judicial system can be redirected by such an event, there’s something wrong with your judicial system, too.

    • #8
    • September 21, 2020, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  9. Ontheleftcoast Member

    The Captain’s Journal quotes the woman herself:

    Q: “Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid abortions for poor women?”

    Justice Ginsburg: “Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.”

    That’s from the WaPo in 2009, where Michael Gerson comments:

    A statement like this should not be taken out of context. The context surrounding this passage is a simplistic, pro-choice rant. Abortion, in Ginsburg’s view, is an essential part of sexual equality, thus ending all ethical debate. “There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to be so obvious,” she explains. “So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.” Of pro-lifers, she declares, “They’re fighting a losing battle” — which must come as discouraging news to litigants in future abortion cases that come before the high court.

    Given this context, can it be argued that Ginsburg — referring to “populations that we don’t want to have too many of” — was merely summarizing the views of others and describing the attitudes of the country when Roe v. Wade was decided? It can be argued — but it is not bloody likely. Who, in Ginsburg’s statement, is the “we”? And who, in 1973, was arguing for the eugenic purposes of abortion?

    And from an interview with John Hockenberry for WNYC:

    “When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So…the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete.”

    As for the Heller case, decided by the Court in 2008, Justice Ginsburg says, “If the Court had properly interpreted the Second Amendment, the Court would have said that amendment was very important when the nation was new; it gave a qualified right to keep and bear arms, but it was for one purpose only—and that was the purpose of having militiamen who were able to fight to preserve the nation.”

    But she was Scalia’s friend.

    • #9
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Rodin Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    But she was Scalia’s friend.

    Although friendship is often rooted in shared world views it is more complicated than that. Sometimes you just meet someone who fascinates you, who you enjoy watching how their mind works without regard to the conclusions it reaches. That apparently was the tie between Ginsberg and Scalia.

    • #10
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Old Bathos Moderator

    I heard Ginsberg opine that it would be nice if SCOTUS did not limit itself to Anglo-American law and were free to pick precedents from whatever country or culture looked interesting. She was not “woke” but she was committed to a more outcome-oriented approach to judicial reasoning. It is one thing for a lefty to spin existing law to move in some desired direction to achieve a social justice outcome. It is quite another to abandon process and precedent to achieve that end. Ginsberg was far too professional to go that far but the logic of her methods would head us that way eventually.

    • #11
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Dr. Bastiat Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    The Captain’s Journal quotes the woman herself:

    Q: “Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid abortions for poor women?”

    Justice Ginsburg: “Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.”

    Nothing is more horrifying than an honest pro-choice person.

    • #12
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    But she was Scalia’s friend.

    Although friendship is often rooted in shared world views it is more complicated than that. Sometimes you just meet someone who fascinates you, who you enjoy watching how their mind works without regard to the conclusions it reaches. That apparently was the tie between Ginsberg and Scalia.

    I can understand that. It also reinforces Glenn Reynolds’ point. Ginsburg and Scalia were both committed to the power of Court, and to the Court as an institution. I also understand that it’s nicer if a workplace is collegial. Nicer, easier, but is it always a good thing?

    • #13
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:47 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Clifford A. Brown: . Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflected an older liberal center-left sensibility

    Considering some of the things she did and said that is damning of that sensibility.

    I agree with what Gerson also wrote in the Washington Post piece quoted above:

    The entire Ginsburg interview is a reminder of the risks of lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Immune from criticism, surrounded by plump cushions of deference, the temperament of a justice can become exaggerated over time. For Ginsburg, complex arguments are now “so obvious” and “can never be otherwise” — and opposition is fated to failure. Such statements, made during Ginsburg’s own nomination hearing, would have been disqualifying. Now she doesn’t give a damn.

    . . .

    But there is another view of the disadvantaged found on the left (and not only on the left). Instead of especially valuing the experience of the disadvantaged, some hope that public policy can thin their ranks. This is no longer pursued through the eugenic decrees that Holmes admired but through the advocacy of Medicaid abortions.

    It is estimated that the Hyde Amendment limiting Medicaid abortions has saved 1 million lives since its passage in 1976 — some, no doubt, became criminals and some, perhaps, lawyers and judges. It is a defining question for modern liberalism: Are these men and women “populations that we don’t want to have too many of” or are they citizens worthy of justice and capable of contribution?

    • #14
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Hoyacon Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    But she was Scalia’s friend.

    Although friendship is often rooted in shared world views it is more complicated than that. Sometimes you just meet someone who fascinates you, who you enjoy watching how their mind works without regard to the conclusions it reaches. That apparently was the tie between Ginsberg and Scalia.

    I can understand that. It also reinforces Glenn Reynolds’ point. Ginsburg and Scalia were both committed to the power of Court, and to the Court as an institution. I also understand that it’s nicer if a workplace is collegial. Nicer, easier, but is it always a good thing?

    It seems to me Scalia and Ginsburg were from a generation where it was possible to be friendly but remain intellectual adversaries. Judging by what we are going through today, I have a hard time seeing that as a bad thing. The proof remains on the printed page of SCOTUS opinions, where Scalia’s occasional sharp tongue was present regardless of whether Ginsburg had joined in the opinion to which he was opposed. and where one did not get the impression that he was ever unduly influenced by liking Ginsburg. And vice versa.

    • #15
    • September 21, 2020, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  16. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    But she was Scalia’s friend.

    Although friendship is often rooted in shared world views it is more complicated than that. Sometimes you just meet someone who fascinates you, who you enjoy watching how their mind works without regard to the conclusions it reaches. That apparently was the tie between Ginsberg and Scalia.

    I can understand that. It also reinforces Glenn Reynolds’ point. Ginsburg and Scalia were both committed to the power of Court, and to the Court as an institution. I also understand that it’s nicer if a workplace is collegial. Nicer, easier, but is it always a good thing?

    It seems to me Scalia and Ginsburg were from a generation where it was possible to be friendly but remain intellectual adversaries. Judging by what we are going through today, I have a hard time seeing that as a bad thing. The proof remains on the printed page of SCOTUS opinions, where Scalia’s occasional sharp tongue was present regardless of whether Ginsburg had joined in the opinion to which he was opposed. and where one did not get the impression that he was ever unduly influenced by liking Ginsburg. And vice versa.

    It’s good up to a point. I’m not saying that either was unduly influenced by the other.

    I’m uncomfortable saying this, but it makes me think of the famous E. M. Forster quotation:

    If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

    Are there limits to friendship? If your friend presents intellectually interesting arguments for immoral, destructive, or even criminal points of view and, worse, is in a position to put those points of view into action, what then? What price collegiality?

    • #16
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Cato Rand Coolidge

    She was a class act, even if I don’t share her view of the role of the judiciary in our national life. She was thoughtful and decent and utterly out of place in our era. I once heard her speak at an event and I went in dreading it and left charmed. We’d be in a much better place if well all took a page from her book. RIP RGB.

    • #17
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Flicker Coolidge

    This is how I feel about RBG’s passing (warning: strong language):

     

    • #18
    • September 21, 2020, at 12:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Gary Robbins Reagan

    RBG also disagreed with the Court’s premature ruling in Roe v. Wade, in that she noted that states were increasingly liberalizing on abortion laws, and she favored the process going forward in the political sphere, and that Roe stopped that process.

    • #19
    • September 21, 2020, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Manny Member

    Perhaps she’s not radical left of the BLM crowd, but she’s still a Liberal’s liberal, and anyone that can advocate full abortion to the moment of birth is not ok in my book. May she rest in peace – i don’t wish ill of the dead – but I am thrilled she’s no longer on SCOTUS and no longer advocating her positions. I’m not joining the heroine’s parade.

    • #20
    • September 21, 2020, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Manny Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    This is how I feel about RBG’s passing (warning: strong language):

     

    LOL!!!

    • #21
    • September 21, 2020, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Rodin (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    By clinging onto power for purely selfish reasons, she rolled the dice and came up short.

    Boy is this a pattern in the Age of Trump: Russian Hoax (Trump 1, Dems 0), Ukraine Hoax/Impeachment (Trump 1, Dems 0), Peace Deals (Trump 1, Dems 0), Trade Deals (Trump 1, Dems 0), COVID-19 (pending), Economy pre-COVID-19 (Trump 1, Dems 0), Economy post-COVID-19 (pending), Supreme Court (Trump 1, Dems 0). It’s as if President Trump has become the House in the Political Casino — you never beat the House.

    On the Supreme Court, President Trump has so far only been able to preserve something like the status quo. This opening is the one that is for a real realignment, assuming that Chief Justice Roberts is shoved over into the position of the “moderate” with three running hard to his left. 

    However, on the critical issue of sexual identity trumping the First Amendment, we already have both Roberts and Gorsuch marking off a solid 5-4 radical anti-orthodox-Christian position, which will have to be overcome with the prospect of even more replacements of leftists in a second Trump term with a faithful Republican Senate majority.

    • #22
    • September 21, 2020, at 1:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    RBG also disagreed with the Court’s premature ruling in Roe v. Wade, in that she noted that states were increasingly liberalizing on abortion laws, and she favored the process going forward in the political sphere, and that Roe stopped that process.

    Exactly so. This is of a piece with her views on the ERA and flag protests. John Lennon’s 1968 “Revolution” comes to mind:

    You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it’s evolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world

    [Pre-Chorus 1]
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out

    [. . .]

    [Verse 3]
    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well, you know
    You better free your mind instead

    [Pre-Chorus 3]
    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

    • #23
    • September 21, 2020, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Flicker Coolidge

    Manny (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    This is how I feel about RBG’s passing (warning: strong language):

     

    LOL!!!

    Yeah, it’s great, isn’t it.

    “Ruth! You just had to make it to 2021!!! Aaaarrrrrgh!”

    • #24
    • September 21, 2020, at 1:34 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. AdamSmithFan Member

    Great piece. It’s also worth noting that despite her fame, she achieved very little on the Court. To be fair, she was appointed at a time of a shift towards a more conservative Court. Apart from United States v Virginia, which was 7-1, I can’t think of a major opinion she wrote. Compare that to Scalia with Morrison v Olson, Crawford, Printz and Heller to name but a few was far more influential. Again to be fair she never had the votes to make an impact the votes but still you would think with all gnashing of teeth and wailing that this was Bill Brennan who’d died. May god rest her and comfort those that mourn her. 

    • #25
    • September 21, 2020, at 1:41 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Really well done, CAB.

    Clearly the Justice–likely because of her generation–had common-sense perspectives on some issues (see the kneeling controversy). However, I’ve been trying, without success, to find some examples of common-sense perspectives in applying the law in a decision–something that might approach originalism/textualism. Conservatives rightfully have concerns about “unreliable” Justices appointed by Republicans, but I suspect liberals did not need to be so concerned about Justice Ginsburg.

    The few liberals I still engage with regarding political matters state that the Constitution has not aged well. So the Left is not concerned with upholding the US Constitution. (I sometimes feel there are those on the Right who no longer care as well.)

    I never thought that realizing an entire political party no longer respects or likes the Constitution would be a reality. How wrong I have been on this matter.

    • #26
    • September 21, 2020, at 2:36 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    AdamSmithFan (View Comment):

    Great piece. It’s also worth noting that despite her fame, she achieved very little on the Court. To be fair, she was appointed at a time of a shift towards a more conservative Court. Apart from United States v Virginia, which was 7-1, I can’t think of a major opinion she wrote. Compare that to Scalia with Morrison v Olson, Crawford, Printz and Heller to name but a few was far more influential. Again to be fair she never had the votes to make an impact the votes but still you would think with all gnashing of teeth and wailing that this was Bill Brennan who’d died. May god rest her and comfort those that mourn her.

    Yes. But it may be too soon to tell. If the left sweeps into power, her dissents will be quoted liberally in new majority opinions.

    • #27
    • September 21, 2020, at 4:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Ace of Spades:

    If you watched Fox News on Friday, you heard several hundred tributes to the “great American” and “trailblazer” Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    Would it surprise you to learn that the leftist outlets feel no such corresponding obligation to praise their enemies upon their deaths?
    Would you say that if one group can command courtesies and tributes from another group, but that second group cannot reciprocally demand courtesies and tributes, what we have on our hands is a Caste system of Lords and Commoners?

    That got Robert Stacy McCain thinking about Whittaker Chambers, who felt that when he left Communism he was leaving the winning side. McCain’s comment on this:

    [T]he Left’s hegemony in academia, media, etc., gives them an almost dictatorial power when it comes to setting the terms of debate over important public issues. This is very much like the prestige once enjoyed by Communism, when the party could attract the support of such well-bred persons as Alger Hiss.

    Even though the vast majority of Americans always opposed Communism, it was never popular among intellectuals to be an anti-Communist, and this allowed Communism to enjoy a certain prestige that it certainly never deserved. Meanwhile, outspoken anti-Communists like Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy and Ronald Reagan were demonized by the fashionable media of their age, so that we can well understand why Chambers felt such a sense of doom when he left the Party.

    Our only advantage, in situations like this, is that the corrupt elite are so arrogantly sure of themselves. Within their ideological echo chamber, the elites never hear any voice of doubt or dissent, so they believe they are on “the right side of history,” and assured of victory. They underestimate the intelligence, determination and courage of their opponents.

     

    • #28
    • September 21, 2020, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes