Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Books about Ruth Bader Ginsberg are in demand!

I’m sure Justice Ginsberg’s family is honored to have their beloved mother and grandmother enjoying the distinction of being the first woman and first Jewish person to lie in state in the US Capitol. It doesn’t remove death’s sting, but hopefully it lessens it.

In my lifetime, my everyday life has been enhanced by the cases Ruth Bader Ginsberg fought and won in Court. Thanks to RBG, as a single woman in the United States, I can get a checking account or credit card, buy a house, and much more. People like to credit popular movements like the sexual revolution in the 1970s for these changes, but so many movements can be just a fad if they are not backed up with changes in laws based on a firm legal foundation. Look how many times we’ve “discovered” sexual harassment.

If you’d like to be reminded of her contribution to our betterment, there are two films that are enjoyable and educational: On the Basis of Sex and RBG. I saw them both in the movie theater (remember that experience?) and just watching the trailers made me tear up. You can rent or buy these films. As a girl who grew up being called “smartypants” a lot, I can’t help but cheer for this petite woman who valued her intellect and never let other diminish her (for long).

Her Supreme Court dissents earned her more acclaim than some of the cases she won as an ACLU litigator. She earned the moniker of Notorious RBG (named after a famous fellow-Brooklynite rapper). There are also memes like “No truth without Ruth” that went viral after she read her dissenting opinions from the bench. Perhaps the most famous is her retort to the shameful dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, “what was once the subject of a dream, the equal citizenship stature of all in our polity, a voice to every voter in our democracy undiluted by race…”

The beautiful thing about a life such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the torch is not passed to just her two children, or her 100+ judicial clerks, but to all of us who share her values. We are legion. And we will not give up on equality for all.

Honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

As a sign of respect flags were ordered at half-mast on all federal building flagpoles. Photo: Gary Taverman

Like many people, I thought of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a superhero–amazing and indestructible. This Friday we were reminded that she was a mortal human being. She is a hero who did her best until the end of her assigned days. Now we must do what we can to honor her.

I am on the West Coast and COVID prevents me–and lots of other mourning her loss–from hopping on a plane to pay my respects in person. My friend Gary who lives in Washington, DC was able to go. Here is a brief interview:

Photo: Gary Taverman

Why did you decide to go to the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC to pay your respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg?  I went for all the obvious reasons – great woman, great life story, I agreed with her on all her court rulings, poignant timing of her death in light of Rosh Hashanah, and personal connection as a fellow Jewish Brooklynite.

How did you feel in the midst of the crowd? What was the mood of the crowd?  The experience was very moving.  Needless-to-say, the crowd was subdued.  It was a beautiful DC day – sunny and in the 70’s – which made the wait quite pleasant.  

What is one special memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg that endears her to you?  She was one, tough broad which, as a New Yorker, is high praise.  

The line up to the steps, waiting for viewing. Photo: Gary Taverman

What was your experience around the Supreme Court steps?  Excellent social distancing, everyone was wearing a mask.   The wait was about 1:40 minutes from getting on the line to arriving at the base of the Court steps.  I’d guess there was about 1,000 people on line when I arrived and the crowd was equally large when I left.  Based on my observation, 75-80 percent of those there were young girls and women.

For people who might be coming from outside DC, any travel tips?  Metro is running.  I believe the closest stop is Capitol South, but Union Station is not the much further.  Parking?  It’s DC!!  Street parking is challenging.  Some roads near the Court were blocked off.

Thank you for sharing your experience Gary.