Judge Ginsburg was highly regarded by her friend and fellow Judge, Antonin Scalia. As he put it, “Having had the good fortune to serve beside her on both courts [U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C., and the Supreme Court], I can attest that her opinions are always thoroughly considered, always carefully crafted and almost always correct (which is to say we sometimes disagree). That much is apparent for all to see.
“What only her colleagues know is that her suggestions improve the opinions the rest of us write, and that she is a source of collegiality and good judgment in all our work.”
The passing of Judge Ginsburg, September 18, was met with sorrow across the nation, especially by women, who saw her as championing their cause. Ginsburg was an intriguing character—a 5’1” power package of determination. Her arguments were carefully crafted and calmly delivered. She was not an impatient table pounder. More of an incremental strategist who focused on adjustments to the law in order to provide equal treatment for women.
Neither was she a man hater. She seemingly had an unusually loving relationship with Martin Ginsburg, her husband of 56 years, until his death. She also had no objection to representing men when they were discriminated against on the basis of their gender. In this sense she was consistent in her pursuit of equality. Even though Scalia approached the law completely differently from Ginsburg, the two of them became very close friends. “What’s not to like — except her views on the law,” Scalia quipped.
In a 2015 MSNBC interview, when asked how she would like to be remembered, Ginsburg responded, “Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”
Judge Ruth Ginsburg loved working on the Supreme Court and loved the collegial relationships she shared with the other judges. She was a consummate professional with the clear goal of providing justice to the American people. For all this she deserves great honor.
Unfortunately, Ginsburg also had tragic blind spots. She argued, for example, for same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, suggesting in oral argument that if an inability to procreate doesn’t keep 70-year-olds from marrying, that excuse could hardly be used to deprive gay couples. Her argument is oddly simple-minded, though, failing to acknowledge that procreation is possible for men and women as long as they remain healthy—and that old age involves a loss of health. We would not deny marriage to individuals on the basis of ill-health. Gay people, in contrast, at the peak of good health, cannot procreate together. Procreation is, of course, a crucial part of the meaning of marriage. It took Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the U.S. Supreme Court Justices to reinvent reality and name a duck an orangutan. This is the kind of foolishness that happens when people decide to redefine for themselves what they are, in spite of science, reason, and revelation, and then demand that others treat them equally on the basis of their own invention. Judge Ginsburg contributed mightily to this ongoing confusion about the meaning of personhood.
Ginsburg was also a steadfast supporter of abortion rights. As she put it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decision-maker, that her choice be controlling. If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.”
Again, there are severe problems in her thinking. Her very statement is troubling that the woman must be the controlling decision-maker in order to be equal. Clearly what she is demanding is a position of superiority for women. No woman should be impregnated without her consent, true. But neither should a woman be impregnated without a man’s consent. Sex and procreation both call for a 2-0 vote.
Once pregnant, the question of “advantage” is no longer relevant. In any case, it is a dubious suggestion to claim pregnancy as a “disadvantage”. A disadvantage for ambitions in the workplace, surely, but not a disadvantage in terms of the initiation of a precious life. More to the point, with the initiation of life, the choice no longer belongs in the hands of woman or man, or both. The child must speak for itself. When it has come of age (21). Then you may ask it if it would mind being aborted.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, brilliant and pleasant as she was, was complicit in the greatest crime in human history. They say there are 73 million abortions each year in the world. Justice is a sham wherever it is permissible for people to kill their own children.
There will be no “Notorious RBG” tee-shirts worn at my house. No RBG bobblehead. No coffeecup imprinted with her photo and the line, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made”. She may be short and she may even be sweet but she is not cute. What she has done is not cute. She has misunderstood justice and has contributed mightily to our present disastrous situation.