Bad-ass woman of the day: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Check out this NY Times piece on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and how she’s using her current Supreme Court term to speak up. Literally.
In both the recent federal abortion ban case and this week’s discrimination ruling, Justice Ginsburg read dissents from the bench:

But the words were clearly her own, and they were both passionate and pointed. In the abortion case, in which the court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act seven years after having struck down a similar state law, she noted that the court was now “differently composed than it was when we last considered a restrictive abortion regulation.� In the latest case, she summoned Congress to overturn what she called the majority’s “parsimonious reading� of the federal law against discrimination in the workplace.
…The oral dissent has not been, until now, Justice Ginsburg’s style. She has gone years without delivering one, and never before in her 15 years on the court has she delivered two in one term. In her past dissents, both oral and written, she has been reluctant to breach the court’s collegial norms. “What she is saying is that this is not law, it’s politics,â€? Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, said of Justice Ginsburg’s comment linking the outcome in the abortion case to the fact of the court’s changed membership. “She is accusing the other side of making political claims, not legal claims.â€?

Gee, I wonder why.
A friend of Ginsburg’s, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, says “shehas always been regarded as sort of a white-glove person, and she’s achieved a lot that way…Now she is seeing that basic issues she’s fought so hard for are in jeopardy, and she is less bound by what have been the conventions of the court.â€? Thank goodness. Now let’s just hope people will listen.

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13 Comments

  1. Paul G. Brown
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Ask a Naderite about the vanishingly small differences between Republicans and Democrats.
    And while you’re at it, ask ‘em if they can see the difference between Roberts/Alito and Ginsberg/Breyer.
    And further, let us all pray for the continuing good health of John Paul Stevens.

  2. Shells
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I love RBG.
    And I hope that she continues to be a voice on SCOTUS for a very very long time.

  3. ccall
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. Interesting in the article to note that Ginsburg had a more productive relationship with Rehnquist than with Roberts and the addition of Roberts/Alito has not only shifted the political bias but also cooled the working relationships between ideological opponents.
    I hope Ginsburg has many more productive years on the bench.
    And ditto everything PaulGBrown said.

  4. carolina girl
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I definitely have much love and an ever growing respect for Justice Ginsburg.

  5. Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank the heavens for RBG. People like her are the reason I became a lawyer.

  6. Commodore08
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know of a form letter out there that I can modify and send to my congressmen about writing some legislation that would correct this problem? I know, I’m lazy…

  7. Commodore08
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    And by this problem I’m referring the 180 days issue she writes about in her dissent. :)

  8. Kyra
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Commodoreo8—try handwriting a non-form letter. It is likely to get more attention.
    It’s very easy, almost effortless to crank out form letters, and congresspeople get millions of them. Handwritten letters, or even self-composed typed letters, represent an investment of time and effort and convey that the issue in question is important enough to you to justify that. Also, they’re much less common and more personable.
    Just make sure it’s legible.

  9. Posted May 31, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    She’s really “stepping up to the plate” as it were. After O’Connor left, all the feminists turned to Ginsberg and said, “Well, we’re counting on you.” I think she’s trying very hard not to let us down.

  10. scootermom
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    She’s an amazing woman and attorney. I had the privilege of meeting her once, and was most impressed, although a bit shocked at how frail she seemed. In my mind she’s a superhero, but alas, in person a small elderly woman.
    I find it refreshing that she is proud of the fact that she was an ACLU attorney in the 1970′s. Most judicial nominees are eager to please to the point of becoming spineless blobs of judicial roadkill.
    Not RBG! She’s my hero.

  11. Betsy
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I admire her so much. I was so happy that she was my college’s commencement speaker the year I graduated. She wore a strange little top hat, which was weird, but because she is RBG, it was awesome nonetheless. I feel sorry for her, though, seeing what she’s worked so hard for slipping away under the guidance of Roberts and his smug-faced partner in crime, Alito. I hate that man’s face.

  12. katiedivina
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Just thought I’d add that her dissents have been so extremely logical and brilliant, really. It’s not just like, “I feel you guys have made the wrong choice and I’m saying so.” She actually destroyed the majority opinion on d&e abortion in her dissent.
    She is such an amazing woman.

  13. werechick
    Posted June 2, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It’s always the tiniest women who kick the most ass.

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