Let us now praise Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In her 25 years on the Supreme Court, the 85-year-old Ginsburg has not only proven herself one of the ablest jurists of modern times, she has also become a cultural icon for the ages.
Think black robes and white lace collar, and she instantly comes to mind. Has any other judge ever been the subject of a best-selling Halloween costume or the inspiration for a recurring character on “Saturday Night Live”?
Is there any other justice in history with a rapper name (“Notorious RBG”) or depicted on a T-shirt along with lengthy quotes from some of her fiery dissents?
She just might be the best loved and most respected Jewish woman in America.
Several weeks ago, the nation held its collective breath after Ginsburg fractured a few ribs. Though she is known for her rigorous workout regimen, we wondered whether this accident might put the octogenarian out of commission. But then we came to our senses. Did anyone seriously think that a few broken ribs could slow RBG down?
Of course not. She was back at work in a matter of days.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Ginsburg is the subject of multiple recent films and books.
All recount her rise from humble Brooklyn origins to Columbia Law School graduate, to becoming director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project in 1972, to her appointment to the bench of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and finally to her 1993 confirmation to sit on the highest court in the land.
The most significant thread weaving throughout her career has been a passion for sticking up for the underdog, for defending the rights of women and minorities, and for pushing back on the strict constitutional constructionism embraced by conservative justices such as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
This proud New York Jew grew up steeped in the notion of tikkun olam — repairing the world. It wasn’t such a big leap from that to serving on the Supreme Court in order to form a more perfect union. And that has been the hallmark of her jurisprudence.
With the recent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court appears poised to challenge decades of progress on reproductive rights, minority rights, women’s rights and environmental protections.
But not if Ginsburg has anything to say about it. And you better believe she will.
We are lucky to have this brilliant, indefatigable woman representing us. And we are proud to call her one of our own.