Archive for the ‘Justice & Law’ Category

UPDATED Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “is part of what I am, just as being a woman is part of what I am.”

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


UPDATED on 10/6/2020

Special Jewish Memorial Service for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Special Eulogy: Nadine Epstein, Editor in Chief and CEO, Moment Magazine Remembrances: Michael Fromm, Jewish Council for Public Affairs Meredith Jacobs, Jewish Women International Sheila Katz, National Council of Jewish Women David Luchins, Jewish Council for Public Affairs Yolanda Savage-Narva, Operation Understanding DC Jodi Schwartz, Jewish Federations of North America Janice Weinman, Hadassah Rabbi Ellen Wolintz-Fields, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism http://twitter.com/Twitter.com/TheJCPA http://twitter.com/Facebook.com/TheJCPA https://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/

UPDATED on 9/29/2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ‘Yom Kippur Controversy’

Justice Ginsburg told me the story in 2016 and here it is, as I heard it from her.

On September 25, 2016, I attended a dinner program at the U.S. Supreme Court sponsored by the American Friends of Hebrew University. Justice Ginsburg was the host, along with a former Israeli Supreme Court justice. The purpose of the program was to compare and contrast the U.S. and Israeli judicial systems. The program was held in the majestic U.S. Supreme Court courtroom.

Justice Ginsburg spoke first. During her remarks and in an off-hand comment, Justice Ginsburg pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court always opens its sessions on the first Monday in October; but that year, in 2016, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) fell on Monday, October 3. In deference to the holiday, Justice Ginsburg explained, the Court would not hear oral arguments in cases until Tuesday, October 4.

Knowing that there was a federal law requiring that the Court commence each term on the first Monday in October and knowing the long-standing practice of hearing oral arguments on that first Monday of each term, Justice Ginsburg’s comment struck me. The Supreme Court is steeped in its traditions and certainly if any institution is going to follow the law, it would be the U.S. Supreme Court. How did it happen that the Court just moved the date for oral arguments?

I got my chance to ask the Justice when the group left to have dinner in the great hall just outside the courtroom. Justice Ginsburg was seated at a table by herself. I sat next to her to ask how the decision was made to move oral arguments in 2016 in deference to Rosh Hashanah.

She immediately turned to me and told me the story. ”Several years ago,” she began, telling me about the 2003 precedent, “Yom Kippur fell on the first Monday in October. Justice Breyer and I went to the Chief Justice [Justice Rehnquist] and pointed that out. We said that the Court should delay the opening in deference to the Holiday.

“The Chief was not persuaded. He said, ‘Why should we delay? We always hold our Friday conferences on Friday, even if it is Good Friday.’ So I replied to him ‘So move that conference to Thursday; that would be fine for us.’ The Chief was still not persuaded. Do you know what persuaded him?” she asked, looking right at me. “I explained to him that lawyers wait their entire career to appear before the Supreme Court. For many of them, it is a once in a lifetime chance to argue in the Supreme Court. What if a Jewish lawyer wanted to appear in court? We should not make that lawyer choose between observing his or her faith and appearing before the Court. That persuaded him and we changed the calendar.”



In death, as in life, Ruth Bader Ginsburg balanced being American and Jewish

Jonathan Sarna examines Ginsburg’s funeral services and burial

Ginsburg's servicesPhoto/Getty ImagesRuth Bader Ginsburg’s casket is carried into a service Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Sarna is University Professor, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis. 

This article is republished from The Conversation.

As news of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spread on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, a common question heard in discussions among American Jews was: “When will she be buried?”

As a longtime scholar of American Jewish life, I understood that the question behind that question was whether, in death, Justice Ginsburg’s family would comply with longstanding Jewish tradition that mandates prompt burial. Or, in accordance with longstanding American tradition, would her burial be delayed so that mourners might pay her respects?

In death, as in life, American Jews looked to see how Justice Ginsburg balanced being an American and being a Jew.

‘Dust returns to the earth’

“Jewish custom insists on prompt burial…a consideration of particular relevance in hot climates,” the authoritative Encyclopaedia Judaica explains. To honor the dead, Orthodox Jews perform burials as quickly as possible, sometimes within just a few hours.

That’s not always possible, of course. Funerals can be delayed when the death falls on the Sabbath – a day of rest in the Jewish faith when no burials are performed – or on a Jewish holiday. They can also be delayed to accommodate the needs and considerations of close relatives traveling in from afar.

The practice of burying Jews swiftly is so deeply ingrained, however, that in 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was far from Orthodox and whose funeral was attended by leaders who rushed in from around the world, had his funeral performed and was buried within just two days of his assassination.

If Justice Ginsburg’s family did not follow Jewish tradition by delaying her burial, in other respects they honored that tradition to the hilt. For example, the wooden casket lying in repose at the Supreme Court and in state at the Capitol remained firmly shut. And in keeping with Jewish practice, there was no public viewing of her body and, apparently, no embalming. Far from preserving the body, Jews believe, following the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible, that “the dust returns to the earth as it was” –- the sooner the better.

A fitting rest

Justice Ginsburg also received, for the first time in American Jewish history, a traditional Jewish funeral in the Great Hall of the Supreme CourtRabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, a Conservative rabbi of Congregation Adas Israel in Washington and a friend of Ginsburg’s whose husband once served as the justice’s law clerk, presided alongside Chief Justice John Roberts.

The service included all the familiar components of a Jewish funeral including a stirring eulogy, recitation of the 23rd Psalm, and the chanting, in Hebrew, of the late medieval prayer El Maleh Rachamim: “God full of mercy…grant fitting rest.” The prayer recited at Ginsburg’s funeral included the justice’s full Hebrew name – Yita Ruchel bat Celia – which includes her mother’s name, but untraditionally, not her father’s.

Usually, burial in a Jewish cemetery follows immediately upon a Jewish funeral, individual mourners reverently accompanying the casket to wherever the cemetery is located. There, around the open grave, additional prayers including a special kaddish, a praise of God, are recited and the casket is lowered.

Mourners and community members then personally participate in the powerful act of filling the grave in, shoveling a spadeful of dirt atop the casket, each thump reinforcing the finality that death represents.

In the case of Justice Ginsburg, that won’t happen in a Jewish cemetery. Instead, after her casket lies in state, it will be transported to Arlington National Cemetery for a private burial service. Arlington, a national and non-denominational cemetery, has no special section set aside for Jews and explicitly forbids some traditional Jewish rituals such as manually lowering the casket and filling in the grave.

Two identities

The traditional Jewish elements in Justice Ginsburg’s funeral and the departures from Jewish tradition connected with her burial both reflect aspects of her identity. She took great pride in her Jewish heritage but broke with most traditional Jewish practices.

In death, as in life, she cherished two identities – being an American and being a Jew – even when they failed to easily harmonize. Her Jewish funeral and Arlington National Cemetery burial speak to her quest to balance these two identities.




UPDATED on 9/25/2020

UC Berkeley community mourns death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Berkeley Talks – Berkeley scholars on the legal legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg | Listen via Stitcher for Podcasts





‘The Most Important Woman Lawyer in the History of the Republic’ – POLITICO


10 stories about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the future of the Supreme Court

The Holocaust and Jewish history fueled Ginsburg’s quest for justice

Only eight Jewish justices have served on the Supreme Court.

Read more »

Perspective | Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave us more than enough

She was a feminist hero, and that doesn’t even begin to say it.

Read more »

Female judges were a rarity when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born

They still are.

Read more »

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ‘marriage of equals’ has inspired her many fans

They split child care and other domestic duties.

Read more »

Analysis | Where GOP senators stand on quickly filling Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat

The justice’s passing opens up a battle for her replacement.

Read more »

Is it too close to the election to confirm a Supreme Court nominee?

It’s the closest high court opening to a presidential election in more than 150 years.

Read more »

How GOP senators responded when shown their past remarks on Supreme Court nominations

Watch video »

Will Trump nominate Amy Coney Barrett?

She wrote an influential ruling on campus sexual assault.

Read more »

Analysis | The dramatic governing changes Democrats could make if they take power

Like the methodology for who wins the presidency.

Read more »

Partisan fight over Supreme Court could affect issues and image

Three areas seem especially ripe for change.

Read more »


From: The Washington Post <email@washingtonpost.com> on behalf of The Washington Post <email@washingtonpost.com>

Reply-To: The Washington Post <email@washingtonpost.com>

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:23 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: 10 stories about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the future of the Supreme Court

Life and Career of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s official biographers and two of her former clerks participated in a forum hosted by Georgetown Law on the late justice’s life and career.



UPDATED on 9/24/3030

Stanford Law Faculty on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy


September 18, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the legal icon who is known as the architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, died on Friday, September 18, 2020 at the age of 87. Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She was the second woman appointed to the Court, joining Stanford Law alumna retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Justice Ginsburg served on the Court for 27 years. Here, Stanford Law School faculty reflect on her legacy.

Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic

Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan

Like Justice Thurgood Marshall before her, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of only a handful of modern Justices who would have been a pivotal figure in American constitutional law even if she had never served on the Court. As the director of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, she argued a sextet of cases in the 1970s that served as the foundation for modern sex-equality jurisprudence.  Part of her tactical brilliance was to bring a number of these cases on behalf of men who were disadvantaged by stereotypical beliefs about the proper roles of the sexes.  She knew—indeed, her own marriage to Marty Ginsburg, one of the nation’s most brilliant tax attorneys as well as a chef extraordinaire, showed this—that men and women can play many roles, and that stereotypes constrict everyone’s opportunities. Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975) and Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977)—both cases she argued—provided the basis for her opinion for the Court in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), reminding us that the law must not rely on overbroad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences of males and females.”

But Justice Ginsburg was a woman of many parts. To be sure, she will be remembered for a series of important opinions in sex-discrimination cases—among them, in addition to the VMI case, the Court’s opinion in Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 137 S. Ct. 1678 (2017), and a dissent in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), a Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic case, that galvanized a congressional response rejecting the Court’s cramped construction of Title VII. But she was long the Court’s go-to Justice for questions of civil procedure—a subject she taught as the first tenured female faculty at Columbia Law School.

The last time I saw the Justice was at the oral argument in Bostock v. Clayton County, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020). I was arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment “because of . . . sex” prohibits an employer from denying someone a job opportunity for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Justice Ginsburg’s was the first question out of the box, and she began, “Ms. Karlan, how do you answer the argument that back in 1964, this could not have been in Congress’s mind . . . .” Back in 1964, likely no one in Congress thought lesbian, gay, or bisexual people should be protected. But it was in no small part due to then-attorney Justice Ginsburg’s efforts to combat sex-based stereotypes that our Clinic could win that case today.

Read more from Pam Karlan in this Washington Post piece.

Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell

Michael W. McConnell, Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law and Director of the Constitutional Law Center

Justice Ginsburg was a towering figure in America’s judiciary: a first-rate legal mind and a judicial strategist par excellence, with a passion for civil liberties. She also was a warm and congenial person, shy but quick to laugh and to engage in lively conversation. It would be nice to think that somewhere in the hereafter, she and her friend Antonin Scalia will enjoy an opera together again.

William B. Gould IV, Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law, Emeritus, and Former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board

Stanford Law Professor William IV Gould

We got to know each other when we were both visiting at Harvard in ‘71-72, and kept in touch over the years when she was on the DC Circuit and the High Court. We exchanged correspondence and reprints over the years. When I was Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and living in Washington, Justice Ginsburg arranged for my Chief Counsel and me to sit in her special box whenever there was an oral argument before the Court involving my NLRB. On a personal level, she was kind enough to greet my grandson Joey in her chambers for a warm and cordial chat about many matters.

I am heartbroken about Justice Ginsburg’s death. She was a tower of strength intellectually, the author of powerful and persuasive opinions, frequently bringing to mind the great Holmes-Brandeis dissents a century ago and those of Douglas and Black more recently. One of many great achievements was her dissent in the Lily Ledbetter case involving wage discrimination based on gender. Though she did not prevail, quite dramatically her opinion was subsequently written into law by Congress and President Obama.

Her opinions in my field of labor and employment are for the ages (and I wrote about this in a 2014 article The Supreme Court, Job Discrimination, Affirmative Action, Globalization and Class Actions: Justice Ginsburg’s Term, 36 University of Hawai’i Law Review 371, which was based on a speech I delivered to the Labor & Employment Section of the State Bar of Hawai’i in Honolulu, Hawai’i).Her work fighting against employer devised and controlled arbitration procedures—what she aptly called “unbargained for arbitration”—will live on and may yet become law. Her dissent against the Court’s tragic and improper invalidation of the Voting Rights Act’s principal feature, in which she said that throwing out the law “when it has worked…is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” is memorable.

The country has lost a figure of historical proportions, a lawyer who brought about change for women much as Thurgood Marshall did earlier for blacks before she ascended to the bench.
I mourn her death and send condolences to her family.

Jenny S. Martinez

Jenny S. Martinez, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean

She was, in the words of the Chief Justice, a “jurist of historic stature.” Her pioneering work as a law professor and litigator on some of the most important issues and cases establishing equal rights for women marked her as one of the most significant legal figures of the century even before she was elevated to the bench. Her towering intellect, her passionate commitment to justice under the law, the ways in which she embodied collegiality and the highest norms of the legal profession all made her a role model for so many young lawyers. May her memory be a blessing.

Read more from Jenny Martinez in this Financial Times piece.

Jane S. Schacter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law

Justice Ginsburg’s historic role in shaping the jurisprudence of constitutional sex discrimination law is both singular and secure as a part of her legacy. She was the architect of the Supreme Court’s modern case law on gender and equality, and had the unique role of shaping that law as both an advocate before she joined the Court, and as a justice. Her majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, the 1996 case striking down the Virginia Military Institute’s refusal to admit women, is a particularly significant reflection of her approach.

Stanford Law Professor Jane S. Schacter

I often play for students the oral argument presented to the Court by “Mrs. Ginsburg” in Frontiero v. Richardson, a 1973 case about a law making it harder for women serving in the military to get certain spousal benefits than it was for male service members. At the time, she was a law professor and lawyer for the ACLU. She wrote an amicus brief in that case arguing that sex, like race, should be a suspect classification and therefore largely off limits for the government to consider in allocating benefits and burdens. Most of the time, amici are not permitted to present oral argument, but she was given time at the podium in this case. It is striking to hear her lucidly and powerfully make the case to the all-male bench that women’s opportunities should not be determined by gender stereotypes. Unlike the male lawyers in the case who argued before and after her, she received no questions from the justices. Listening to the argument, one wonders if the justices knew quite what to do with her arguments. She later said she viewed her role in the case as teaching the justices and giving them a perspective that had probably never occurred to some of them. Her argument was about ten minutes long and it is well worth hearing. https://www.oyez.org/cases/1972/71-1694

Over the course of her career, Justice Ginsburg taught the country so much about sex discrimination, equality, and a long list of other issues. The icon she became gave her the ability to bring her insights to a wider audience. Justice Ginsburg’s career was one for the ages, and the lessons she taught so many of us will long endure.

Read At the U.S. Supreme Court: A Conversation with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Stanford Law Professor Deborah Hensler

Deborah Hensler, Judge John W. Ford Professor of Dispute Resolution and Director, Stanford Law and Policy Lab

In popular culture, Justice Ginsburg was usually portrayed as a great liberal. I never regarded the Justice as particularly liberal in the American sense of the word: in cases affecting the business community in comments in oral arguments if not in opinions she often echoed attitudes I associate with conservative lawyer lobbyists. What Justice Ginsburg was truly was a fierce and unswerving advocate of equal rights, from women’s rights to men’s rights to gay rights to transgender rights, and a fierce advocate for voting rights. These fundamental rights are not  “liberal” values, they are bedrock American values, engraved over the doorway of the US Supreme Court, on which Justice Ginsburg served so honorably: “Equal Justice Under Law.”

May her memory be a blessing and inspire all of our students to pursue that goal.

John J. Donohue III, C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law

Stanford Law Professor John Donohue

Reflecting on the career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one has to marvel at the enormous journey she took from a bright young co-ed at Cornell University at a time when the opportunities for women in the practice of law and in professional life more generally were severely constrained, to a trailblazing advocate and architect of a legal strategy to remove those bonds, to a lucid and insightful liberal icon on the Supreme Court who courageously fought against illness and some of her misguided colleagues with incredible passion and intensity in her enduring campaign for justice and a more perfect union. One must laud the insight of President Bill Clinton in recognizing the unique brilliance and wisdom that RBG would bring to the Supreme Court, where she battled a growing contingent of ideologues of the right as they unwisely weakened important civil rights laws, strengthened the power of baleful influences in electoral politics, and constrained governmental efforts to curtail gun violence.

RBG’s life and death have underscored the importance of the Supreme Court and civic engagement to the quest for social justice and the lives of all Americans. She also showed a wonderfully generous spirit who could enjoy the friendship and unquestionable conviviality of fellow Justice Antonin Scalia, while still fully aware of his severe limitations as a largely misguided jurist.

RBG’s life also reminds us of the complexity of human existence: even the most remarkably commendable and admirable lives of unparalleled achievement and excellence will often take actions that can invite criticism. When President Obama and others signaled that it might advance Justice Ginsburg’s long-term goals to step down to allow Obama to replace her with a younger judge, she responded that this was “a question for my own good judgment,” going on to ask rhetorically, “So tell me who the president could have nominated … that you would rather see on the court than me?”

If she had lived until a Democratic president could appoint her replacement, her judgment and her will would have been deemed remarkable. Having fallen short of this achievement, RBG has at once highlighted the abject hypocrisy of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in seeking to replace her so close to the election, but has also left it to her supporters and admirers to take the actions necessary to ensure that her decision to rebuff Obama will not be remembered as injurious to the goals she championed.

Suzanne Luban, Clinical Supervising Attorney and Lecturer in Law

Suzanne Luban

Fiery. Pioneering. Heroic. Notorious. How are we to go on without Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg? How will we see into the wilderness that lies ahead, without the beacon of light she cast? In her comments about the important role of dissenting opinions, Justice Ginsberg left us a signal. Quoting Chief Justice Hughes in 1936, she remarked that “A dissent in a Court of last resort is an appeal . . . to the intelligence of a future day, when a later decision may possibly correct the error into which the dissenting judge believes the court to have been betrayed.” Just as she never wavered despite the conservative shift on the Court, we cannot indulge the impulse to descend into depressed torpor. As the Court’s most active dissenter over her 27 year tenure, Justice Ginsburg saw her role as passionately showing the way when she believed the Court was heading in the wrong direction. “I will not live to see what becomes of [my dissenting opinions], but I remain hopeful.”

Not only was RBG a visionary to combat discrimination based on sex, she was also a champion of the individual rights of employees, unions, shareholders, and People of Color.  She was naturally anti-racist. When asked if she felt “uncomfortable” sharing the Notorious moniker with Biggie Smalls, she warmly embraced their connection, rebuffing the insinuation that she would not relish being in the same club as a renowned Black gansta rapper.

We must continue in her stead, fiery, hopeful, and unwavering.

Faculty photo of Deborah Rhode

Deborah L. Rhode, the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and the Director of the Center on the Legal Profession

No individual did more than Ruth Bader Ginsburg to transform the legal landscape for the better on matters involving gender. The history of American women is one of discrimination on the basis of sex, but not until 1970 did the Supreme Court find that such discrimination was unconstitutional. Its initial decisions were shaped by Ginsburg as the co-founder and litigation strategist of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. During the 1970s, the project brought hundreds of cases challenging gender bias, and Ginsburg herself had five victories in landmark cases before the Supreme Court. She had the wisdom to represent male as well as female plaintiffs, which helped an all-male court understand the injustice of laws based on archaic gender stereotypes that restricted the roles of both sexes. Read the full article here.

Ronald C. Tyler, Professor of Law and Director of the Stanford Criminal Defense Clinic

Stanford Law Professor Ronald C. Tyler

I grieve the passing of this monumental, transformational figure. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a courageous champion of justice. Among the opinions I appreciated most was her dissent in the voting rights case, Shelby County v. Holder. She observed that eliminating the preclearance requirement for states with a history of racial discrimination was like “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” The numerous voter suppression measures enacted since then have vindicated her warning.

As a current member of the American Civil Liberty Union’s leadership, I naturally think of Justice Ginsburg’s earlier years as a nonpareil advocate for gender equality when she directed the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970’s. I am proud to be among those carrying on the work of that organization.

As the father of a daughter who is now embarking into male-dominated technology spaces, I long for a new justice who will share Justice Ginsburg’s lucid vision: “Girls should have the same opportunity to dream, to aspire and achieve — to do whatever their God-given talents enable them to do—as boys . . . . That’s what it’s all about: Women and men, working together, should help make the society a better place than it is now.”

Given the current struggles, striking at the core of our democratic society, we need nothing less.





UPDATED on 9/21/2020

Central Synagogue Tribute to Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tribute/Hallelujah, Central Synagogue – Rosh Hashanah 5781

Sep 19, 2020

including Steven Breyer reaction as he learned about RBG death.



2020 Liberty Medal Honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sep 17, 2020

14.9K subscribers

The National Constitution Center awards its 32nd annual Liberty Medal to the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, for her efforts to advance liberty and equality for all. The video tribute, produced by NBCUniversal, features remarks and performances from prominent celebrities, musical artists, activists, and close friends of the justice. The Liberty Medal Ceremony is the pinnacle of the National Constitution Center’s yearlong celebration of Women and the Constitution honoring the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. 
September 18, 2020: All of us at the National Constitution Center are mourning the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Just yesterday, the NCC awarded the 2020 #LibertyMedal to SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her efforts to advance liberty and equality for all. This video honors the legacy of one of the most influential voices for constitutional change in American history.

The True Story of the Case Ruth Bader Ginsburg Argues in ‘On the Basis of Sex’

Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue was the first gender-discrimination suit Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in court


Ginsburg’s Brooklyn upbringing (and the influence of her mother Celia) taught her not to limit her view of what women could accomplish, according to De Hart, but her path to women’s rights law was circuitous. She met Marty, a chemistry major, at Cornell, and the couple decided to enter the same field. De Hart relates that they considered business school, but Ruth pushed for law school, and after their marriage, Marty’s military service, and the birth of their daughter, Jane, the Ginsburgs wound up at Harvard Law School. There were only eight other women in her class.

Institutional sexism wasn’t the only barrier Ginsburg encountered. While Marty received treatment for testicular cancer in 1958, Ruth took on his coursework as well; when he landed a job in New York, she transferred to Columbia Law School. Along the way, she shattered glass ceilings and racked up accolades: first person to be a member of both the Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews, tied for first in her class at Columbia.* Come graduation, though, she found herself shut out from job opportunities until a Columbia professor flat-out refused to suggest any other clerkship candidates but her for a position under a New York District judge. “I was Jewish, a woman, and a mother. The first raised one eyebrow; the second, two; the third made me indubitably inadmissible,” she said later. After her clerkship, she entered academia, first studying civil procedure in Sweden and then becoming a professor at Rutgers Law School’s Newark campus.

As Ginsburg made her name in civil procedure, the basis of her work on behalf of women’s rights shifted into position. “Her view of feminism was very firmly shaped by Swedish feminism, which argued that to be both fully human, both men and women had to share in parental responsibilities and the burden and compensations of work,” explains De Hart. During the 1960s, Ginsburg read Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, a cornerstone feminist text, and her students at Rutgers requested she teach a class on women and the law. In 1970, Ginsburg obliged and studied up accordingly. “Inside of a month I had read every federal decision ever written relating to women’s rights, also some state court decisions. That was no great feat, for there were precious few of them,” she said in a 2009 interview.




Feb 7, 2013

116K subscribers

Legal scholar and tireless defender of equal rights Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflected on her career during a discussion with Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow on Monday before a packed room in Wasserstein Hall.

HLS in the World | A Conversation with Six Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court


Oct 27, 2017

116K subscribers

Six members of the Supreme Court of the United States—all HLS alumni—join Harvard University President Drew Faust and Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning on Oct. 26 to open Harvard Law School’s bicentennial summit. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ’79; Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy ’61, Stephen G. Breyer ’64, Elena Kagan ’86 and Neil M. Gorsuch ’91; and Associate Justice (retired) David H. Souter ’66 shared memories, advice and more than a few priceless anecdotes. To commemorate Harvard Law School’s 200th anniversary, the law school hosted an extraordinary gathering of global leaders on Oct. 26-27 for HLS in the World, a bicentennial summit designed to address important issues in legal education, the legal profession, law, and society.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Conversation with President Biddy Martin

Oct 9, 2019

3.53K subscribers

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Amherst College President Biddy Martin for an onstage conversation in Coolidge Cage on Thursday, October 3, 2019. The second woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the first Jewish justice since 1969, Justice Ginsburg is well known for her clear voice in support of the constitutional rights of all members of our society. Her early career as a pathbreaking lawyer in defense of fundamental rights, as well as her nearly forty years as an appellate judge and Supreme Court Justice, have been well-documented in many media, including opera, late-night television, and two feature-length films.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933–September 18, 2020) had barely cusped from childhood to adolescence when she watched in awe as her greatest role model — Eleanor Roosevelt, with her floral dresses and her “spine as stiff as the steel girder of a skyscraper” — was appointed chairperson of the newly established United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Ruth Bader as a child.

There is no overestimating the quickening of mind, the stir of soul, the immense swell of inspired idealism, which great role models can spark in the young. At a time when the world was reckoning with the savaging fusion of grief and shame in the wake of its most inhumane war, at an age when the human animal gets its first taste of that most dangerous and self-destructive substance of the spirit — cynicism — the thirteen-year-old future Supreme Court Justice chose the courage of idealism over the cowardice of cynicism as she considered humanity’s path forward toward a safer, saner, more equitable world in a June 1946 op-ed for her school paper, published under the byline “Ruth Bader, Grade 8B1” and included in My Own Words (public library) — the collection culled from a lifetime of writings, selected by Justice Ginsburg herself and her official biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams.

Reflecting on the “four great documents” that have shaped the world since its beginning — “great because of all the benefits to humanity which came about as a result of their fine ideals and principles”: the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, the 1689 Bill of Rights, and the American Declaration of Independence — the young Ruth writes:

Now we have a fifth great document, the Charter of the United Nations. Its purpose and principles are to maintain international peace and security, to practice tolerance, and to suppress any acts of aggression or other breaches of peace.

It is vital that peace be assured, for now we have a weapon that can destroy the world. We children of public school age can do much to aid in the promotion of peace. We must try to train ourselves and those about us to live together with one another as good neighbors for this idea is embodied in the great new Charter of the United Nations. It is the only way to secure the world against future wars and maintain an everlasting peace.


From: Brain Pickings by Maria Popova <newsletter@brainpickings.org>

Reply-To: Brain Pickings by Maria Popova <newsletter@brainpickings.org>

Date: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 5:04 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Special: 13-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg on prejudice, its antidote, the path to justice, and the 5 documents that shaped humanity



What Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught us about the gift of time

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From: JTA Daily Briefing <newsdesk@jta.org>

Reply-To: <newsdesk@jta.org>

Date: Monday, September 21, 2020 at 11:40 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Us About the Gift of Time


Remembering RBG: Legal Giant’s Death Sparks Furious Fight in D.C. over Vacant Supreme Court Seat

We look at the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the future of the Supreme Court, in a wide-ranging interview with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at … Read More →

RBG: Film Director Reflects on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Lifelong Fight for Gender Equity

In her later years, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was internationally known simply as her initials — RBG — and a 2018 documentary film by the … Read More →

“A National Tragedy”: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Friend & “Favorite Client” Remembers the Legal Icon

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg first gained fame in the 1970s when she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties … Read More →

From the Archives: Documentary RBG Celebrates Life of Groundbreaking Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the most talked-about documentaries at this year’s Sundance Film Festival looks at the groundbreaking life of the nearly 85-year-old Supreme … Read More →

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87

The Supreme Court has announced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87. In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Our nation has lost a … Read More →


From: Democracy Now! <digest@democracynow.org>

Reply-To: Democracy Now! <digest@democracynow.org>

Date: Monday, September 21, 2020 at 12:47 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Remembering RBG: Legal Giant’s Death Sparks Furious Fight in D.C. over Vacant Supreme Court Seat | Daily Digest 09/21/2020

Read Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Teenage Essay on the Holocaust

‘Dare we be at ease?’ wrote Bader Ginsburg in Brooklyn in 1946


OCTOBER 06, 2016


Who Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

“Perhaps more than any other jurist, Ginsburg transformed the law of sex discrimination in America. It is hard to imagine the Supreme Court without her,” Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University, wrote in an op-ed for CNN.

Ginsburg grew up in Brooklyn, New York, earning a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and attending Harvard Law School, and later Columbia Law School.

She was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and was the most senior of the four liberal justices on the court.

Ginsburg was the second woman ever to serve on the court, after Sandra Day O’Connor, and was known for her efforts in advancing equal treatment for women. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Virginia which determined that the Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women.

Her efforts to end legal sex discrimination, acknowledged as brilliant by friends and foes alike, were celebrated in the 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex.”

Ginsburg also was a pivotal voice in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, which struck down a Texas law that imposed onerous restrictions on abortion clinics. “It is beyond rational belief that [this law] could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions,'” she wrote.

Later in life, she became a cultural icon as the “Notorious RBG.” Her face was splashed on tote bags and tattooed onto millennials; crafters made her dissent collar into earrings. Her workouts were infamous. “In a country where women still crave female political leaders, Ginsburg filled a void,” wrote Alicia Victoria Lozano for NBC.

Within hours of her death on Friday, mourners stood outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, and sang “Amazing Grace “as the flags were lowered to half-staff.

Last Updated September 19, 2020

A True Champion of Justice — and Women: Mourning Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Hadassah mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, z”l, on September 18, the first night of Rosh Hashanah, from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1933, Justice Ginsburg — a life member of Hadassah — spent a lifetime breaking boundaries and championing women’s rights, equality and justice. Today, thanks to her relentless efforts, the American legal system views women as equal under the law.

“The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition,” she once said. A trailblazer with one of our nation’s sharpest minds and a warm heart, a powerhouse with a sense of humor, an inspiration and an icon, she repeatedly credited Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold as being an inspiration to her, one of “the two Jewish women, raised in the United States of America, whose humanity and bravery inspired me” and who she credits for being a “Zionist even before Theodor Herzl came on the scene.”

Ginsburg admired Szold’s eloquent rejection of a male offer to say Kaddish for her mother when she died,” wrote Executive Editor Lisa Hostein in the December 2019 issue of Hadassah Magazine. “When Ginsburg’s own mother died, right before her high school graduation, Ginsburg had been told that, as a woman, she couldn’t recite Kaddish.”

In 1993, Ginsburg took her seat on the Supreme Court bench. Yet her legal legacy began much earlier; for two decades she argued cases that attacked the systemic sexual discrimination embedded in the law and leading the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project from its founding in 1972.

“Women’s rights are an essential part of the overall human rights agenda, trained on the equal dignity and ability to live in freedom all people should enjoy,” she said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in January 2019, congratulating members of the Hadassah Attorneys Council right after they were sworn into the US Supreme Court Bar.

Ginsburg was the first Jewish woman — and the second woman — to sit on the Supreme Court bench. And for 25 years, she didn’t miss a day when the court was in session, until she had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung in late December 2018. On her first day back at Supreme Court in January 2019, she took time to offer her congratulations to the newest members of the US Supreme Court Bar, 14 members from the Hadassah Attorneys Council, as she has almost every year since the council began its Swearing In Program two decades ago.

Ginsburg left us during the High Holidays, and among what she considered to be her “big achievements” was getting the court not to sit on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, along with the aid of Justice Stephen Breyer.

During the traditional period of prayer, reflection and atonement, many may find in her words during the Ten Days of Awe, a reminder that “we are taught to do right, to love mercy, do justice, not because there’s gonna be any reward in heaven or punishment in hell. We live righteously because that’s how people should live.”

Asked in a 2015 interview how she would like to be remembered, she said: As “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.”

Our thoughts are with her family. May her memory be a blessing. Join us in honoring her legacy.

Read more about Justice Ginsburg’s life.

RBG: Supreme Champion of Justice and Civil Rights | Hadassah Magazine

RBG Inducted Into Hall of Fame at Philadelphia Jewish Museum

At the US Supreme Court: A Special Moment for Hadassah Attorneys

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Feminist Role Models Are Two Jewish Women | The Forward


From: Hadassah President Rhoda Smolow and Executive Director/CEO Janice Weinman <president@hadassah.org>

Organization: Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America

Reply-To: Hadassah President Rhoda Smolow and Executive Director/CEO Janice Weinman <president@hadassah.org>

Date: Monday, September 21, 2020 at 8:47 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, z”l: A True Champion of Justice – and Women


UPDATED on 9/20/2020

JCPA Mourns the Loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) mourns the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was a true hero and a champion of justice and equality.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg rose from the humble beginnings of an immigrant Jewish family in Flatbush to become a Supreme Court Justice. As a lawyer and advocate she fought to change laws and policies that advanced reproductive rights and equality for all.

As a Supreme Court Justice, she upheld many of the positions central to JCPA’s mission. “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is,” she explained.

In 2002, Ginsberg received JCPA’s Albert D. Chernin Award, which recognizes individuals whose life work best exemplifies the social justice imperatives of Judaism and the protection of the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment.

“The best way to honor Justice Ginsberg’s life is to continue to fight for equality and to deter the rollback of women’s reproductive rights,” stated David Bernstein, JCPA’s President and CEO. “Her work and legacy live on in our work.”


From: Jewish Council for Public Affairs <jcpainfo@thejcpa.org>

Reply-To: <jcpainfo@thejcpa.org>

Date: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 7:31 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: JCPA Mourns the Loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg


UPDATED on 9/20/2020


Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,


It is with great sadness that we learned that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, H’96, lost her valiant battle with cancer on Friday at age 87. Justice Ginsburg was a pioneer in the fight for women’s rights in the workplace and elsewhere long before she was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman to ascend to the nation’s highest court. Justice Ginsburg – who became affectionately known as “Notorious RBG” to a younger generation – was admired for her keen intellect, her determination in the face of injustice, and in particular for her eloquent dissents from majority decisions.


Justice Ginsburg accepted an honorary degree from Brandeis just three years after she was named to the Court. In 2016, she was a keynote speaker at Brandeis’ celebration of the 100th anniversary of our namesake Louis D. Brandeis’ ascension to the Supreme Court. In a speech attended by several thousand at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, Ginsburg spoke about how the Brandeis Brief was the first legal brief to rely more on scientific information than on legal citations, and how that approach enabled future arguments before the court – including ones made by Ginsburg herself.


University Professor Anita Hill recalled Justice Ginsburg in this way:

Justice Ginsburg was a role model and a fearless champion of equality. She was unapologetic when she declared during a Supreme Court oral argument that the grand goal of federal law was to “undo generations of rank discrimination in housing.” Justice Ginsburg showed the same resolve when, in a dissent, she called upon Congress to correct a Supreme Court decision that she viewed as “totally at odds with the robust protection against workplace discrimination.” Whether arguing before the Supreme Court or admonishing her colleagues on the Court, she spoke truth to power. In doing so, she brought American law closer to our lived experiences and to the equal justice promised in our Constitution.

We should never lose sight of the enduring legacy Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves behind, and we should embrace her determination to work toward opportunity and justice.


May her memory be a blessing.



Ron Liebowitz



From: Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz <alumni@brandeis.edu>

Reply-To: <alumni@brandeis.edu>

Date: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 11:50 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: In memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


UPDATED on 9/19/2020

It is hard to overstate the political implications of Ginsburg’s death

From the presidential race, to a government shutdown, to control of the Senate

Mourners gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday night after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's passing.
Mourners gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday night after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing.ALEX BRANDON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Friday is about to consume everything in American politics.

It is not just that liberals will mourn her passing as a progressive folk hero. It is not just the tributes that will come from Americans of all walks of life, who admired her grit and intellect — even those who disagreed with the decisions she made from the court.

Who she was, what she represented, and the mere timing of her death will basically freeze politics until the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 — and beyond.


Yes, there will be a funeral. But looming over all of this is: What happens with Ginsburg’s seat?

From all appearances, Ginsburg understood that.

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told her granddaughter as a dying wish, according to NPR.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — here in her chambers during a 2019 interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg — died on Friday at the age of 87.

Shuran Huang/NPR

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

  • https://www.npr.org/2020/09/18/100306972/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-champion-of-gender-equality-dies-at-87
  • UPDATED on 1/1/2019
  • Was 2018 the year of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? With a new biography, a documentary, a biopic, and so much more, the 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice dominated the pop culture landscape this year. On her 25th anniversary of being appointed to the Supreme Court, she’s not slowing down anytime soon. (Not even broken ribs can stop her!)As 2018 year winds down, we’re looking back at the year in RBG. All the movies, books, and yes, even podcasts can be overwhelming to navigate. We know you’re busy — even the most ardent Ginsburg fan has just so much time — so we’ve sorted them for you.FOR FAMILIESIf you’re looking for a movie to watch together…. On the Basis of Sex, the biopic written by her nephew, is the heartwarming tale of Ginsburg and her husband, Marty. It focuses on a moment early Ginsburg’s career when she and Marty litigated a tax case together — the first case of sex-based discrimination she took on. Featuring Felicity Jones as Ruth and Armie Hammer as Marty (which RBG herself approves of!), the movie is authentic, inspiring, and the perfect feel-good tale. Plus? The justice herself has already seen it three times.If you like documentaries that make you cry…. RBGpremiered in theaters in May, and is now available to stream on Hulu. The film focuses on her legal legacy and her status as a pop culture icon. It also explores her life, love story with Marty (cue the tears), and her family.There are interviews with Ginsburg herself, her children Jane and James, her granddaughter Clara, and famous figures such as Gloria Steinem and Lily Ledbetter.If you’re a podcast fiend… “RBG: Beyond Notorious”is from the same team that brought you the RBG documentary. A six-part (!) series, it starts in the present day and works back in time. Like the doc, it features interviews with Ginsburg herself, in addition to her family and colleagues. It kind of takes you behind-the-scenes of the film — but you don’t need to have seen the documentary to listen to the podcast!FOR ADULTSIf you like diving into a very meaty biography…. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Lifeis the first definitive biography of the justice. Written by Jane Sherron de Hart, it covers into everything from her connection to Judaism to her unique parenting style. Clocking in at 540 pages (723 including the bibliography & notes!), this isn’t for a casual reader. But it is so worth the read.If you like books that are perfect for the coffee table… The Unstoppable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: American Icon is a combination of 130 photographs and inspiring quotes. It covers a mix of her private life and public life, covering her childhood in Brooklyn through her appointment to the highest court in America.If you’re interested in legal and feminist analyses…. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy of Dissent: Feminist Rhetoric and the Lawexamines her contributions to “reshaping the rhetoric of the law.” It focuses on her impact on late 20th century feminism, and the “unique contributions” of RBG’s legal rhetoric and how she’s “shifted the boundaries of legal language.” Definitely a more scholarly read, but if you’re into that type of thing, this is definitely for you.FOR KIDSFor your baby or toddler… I Look Up To… Ruth Bader Ginsburg: part of the “I Look Up To” series, which introduces inspiring people to young ones. This book explains in simple way how Ginsburg is admirable because she’s smart and strong.For your pre-teen…. Female Force: Ruth Bader Ginsburgtells Ginsburg’s story comic form. Who can resist a good comic book?For your artsy teen….The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book! This here is a a “quirky collection of original illustrations by noted cartoonist Tom F. O’Leary.” It’s great for teens — and just about everyone.FOR EVERYONEWho doesn’t want a RBG calendar?Did we say 2018 was the Year of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Perhaps we were off by a year. After all, in 2018, two RBG calendars came out for 2019: The Ruth Bader Ginsburg 2019 Wall Calendar or The RBG Workout 2019 Wall Calendar.Happy Year of RBG!
  • https://www.kveller.com/was-2018-the-year-of-ruth-bader-ginsburg/?utm_source=kveller_maropost&utm_campaign=kveller&utm_medium=email&mpweb=1161-7948-143802
  • UPDATED on 11/3/2018

    But Justice Ginsburg always insisted that progress should come in slow, methodical steps rather than extreme gestures. In 1993, she gave a famous (one might say notorious) lecture that decried Roe v. Wade because the decision “invited no dialogue with legislators,” but wiped out, in a single stroke, every state’s abortion law.

    Ms. Carmon mentions this lecture. But as the book winds down, she does not so much as remark upon — much less reckon with — the idea that Justice Ginsburg’s belief in incrementalism might live in tension with her recent votes on marriage equality, which invalidated many state laws and made no overtures to state legislatures at all. Yet these votes clearly suggest that she sometimes does see a role for the courts as an agent of transformative social change.



  • RBG-USAToday
  • UPDATED on 11/3/2016 
  • NOVEMBER 3, 2016
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to deliver annual Stanford lecture on a meaningful life
  • Ginsburg, a justice of the Supreme Court since 1993, was recently selected as the Rathbun Visiting Fellow by the Office of Religious Life.
  • http://news.stanford.edu/2016/11/03/ruth-bader-ginsburg-deliver-stanford-lecture-meaningful-life/
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Next Act, in Venice
  • Justice Ginsburg. Photo from the Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.


    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is putting the drama of Ginsburg vs. Trump behind her as she heads to Venice, Italy, to take part in a new role: the presiding judge in Shylock’s Appeal, a mock trial that is part of the 500th anniversary commemoration of the Venice Ghetto and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

    Six historic performances of The Merchant of Venice will be presented in the ghetto from July 26 to 31 to mark the coinciding anniversaries. In a side event, Ginsburg, an avid opera and theater fan popularly known as Notorious RBG, will chair the bench of five jurists who will reconsider the judgment against the notorious Jewish moneylender infamous for demanding his pound of flesh. Shylock, Antonio and Portia will be represented by famous international lawyers as the legal implications of the controversial play unfold (tickets to the event are available for patrons of The Merchant of Venice show). Whether or not the court’s decision on July 27th will rehabilitate or reverse the anti-Semitic stereotype now embedded in Shylock’s very name remains to be seen, but a personal factor has “added delight” to Ginsburg’s participation: Her grandson, actor Paul Spera, will play Lorenzo, who eventually elopes with Shylock’s daughter Jessica.

    In an interview in her chambers on July 15, at the end of a grueling week, Ginsburg seemed relaxed and at ease. A day after her public expression of regret over what she called the “ill-advised comments” she had made about likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, she offered no further remarks. “I gave the statement I gave and that’s it,” she said flatly.

    During the interview with Hadassah Magazine, Ginsburg noted that Jewish values inform her identity: “How could they not?” she said. “How fortunate I am that Jews are the People of the Book with a tremendous love of learning and reading.”

    The concept of tzedek, justice, she said, “is part of what I am, just as being a woman is part of what I am.” She also mentioned the two pieces of advice her mother, Celia Bader, repeated many times. “One was, ‘Be a lady.’ The other was, ‘Be independent.’ To her, being a lady meant, ‘Don’t be distracted by useless emotions like anger and envy.’ Those, she taught me, were unproductive and would not do me any good.”

    Celia Bader died in June 1950, the day before her daughter was to graduate from Brooklyn’s James Madison High School.

    Ginsburg is likely to remain in the public eye over the next few months as her new book, My Own Words, is released this fall by Simon & Schuster. The selection of writings and speeches on wide-ranging topics from gender equality and Jewish identity to law and opera will be her first book since she became a Supreme Court justice in 1993 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. And Natalie Portman is reportedly starring in On the Basis of Sex, an upcoming biographical film about Ginsburg’s life.

    Rahel Musleah is an award-winning journalist who leads tours of Jewish India and speaks about the community. 

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