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 â€œdifferently composed than it was when we last considered a restrictive abortion regulation.â€? In the latest case, she summoned Congress to overturn what she called the majorityâ€™s â€œparsimonious readingâ€? of the federal law against discrimination in the workplace.
…The oral dissent has not been, until now, Justice Ginsburgâ€™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 courtâ€™s collegial norms. â€œWhat she is saying is that this is not law, itâ€™s politics,â€? Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, said of Justice Ginsburgâ€™s comment linking the outcome in the abortion case to the fact of the courtâ€™s changed membership. â€œShe 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 sheâ€™s achieved a lot that way…Now she is seeing that basic issues sheâ€™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.