Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, A tribute.

:  I’m still in a state of shock after learning of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ve been crying when I’m normally quite stoic. But I suppose this is fear and despair mixed with grief.

What a giant of influence this tiny woman was. I can’t think of anyone who embodies the word justice more completely. And yet she was not always stuffy, earnest and serious. She had a dry wit, as she confessed getting advice on her marriage that it is sometimes wise to be deaf, and she has continued this into her professional life. Also that she was allowed on stage, in costume in many DC operas as she is such a huge opera fan

I realize I’ve been writing IS not was, as if I can’t believe she’s gone  All we can do is take up the fight for justice and decency in her honor.

LUCY BURDETTE: Totally agree Rhys, she was a whirling dervish--so dedicated to her fight against gender discrimination, and then for all Americans, once she was appointed to the supreme court. I fell in love with her after watching the documentary RBG. (ON THE BASIS OF SEX is another film about her life.) Who could not love a mid-eighties woman holding a plank for 60 seconds while on camera? She had astonishing work habits and a brilliant mind, and I simply can’t fathom working through 3 bouts of cancer as she did over the recent years. I can only imagine that she was heartbroken knowing her fight was over. I know that I am…

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Think of the lives she changed! With her brilliance, and authentic love of justice, and unstoppable humor, and genuine delight in who she’d become. Her laser logic. She understood power, and her power, and understood the power of right. And got to love how she was so incredibly confident. Her late-in-life attendance at law school.

And she not only changed women’s lives for the better, but men's, too, right? SInce it’s all dominoes.

(Not to mention the politics of it, which she deeply understood. Her last wish to her granddaughter, which will most certainly not be granted.)

She would have wanted us to persevere, too. Her death must inspire us not to give up.

HALLIE EPHRON: She was amazing. For her intellect. Her tenacity. Her convictions. She did it all and in her own way and in her own good time. Losing her, and losing her now makes me weep for her and her loved ones... and for us.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: She will be remembered as a giant of jurisprudence, not necessarily for her opinions, well-thought-out and well-written as they were, but for the example she set for women in the law and the inspiration she’s been to countless young women everywhere. Her work as an attorney helped ensure women and men equal opportunity under the law, without regard for gender or orientation.  

Also, having read Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, I have to say she and her beloved Marty set an example of equality and mutual support that’s hard to find in many marriages today, let alone back in the 50’s and 60’s when she was going to law school and starting her career. 

I think of that lovely phrase used when people die: May her name be a blessing. We don’t need to wish that for Ruth Bader Ginsburg; her name is already a blessing.


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have to admit I've been putting off adding to this thread because I knew I couldn't do it without tears. Her name will be a blessing indeed, Julia, and a touchstone for future generations. What an amazing light in the world she was. Brave, honest, decent, compassionate, funny. And while we are all grieving for ourselves in OUR loss, I keep think how incredibly hard it must have been for her to let go, knowing the consequences. But I know she had faith that we would continue her legacy. RIP, RBG.

JENN MCKINLAY: There are so many things I admired about Justice Ginsburg and you've all covered it quite well. I don't want to be repetitive. I do, however, have a bookmark of Notorious RBG. I've had it for years. I think of our mighty warrior every night when I read, and she keeps my place for another day. It seems fitting. She kept our place at the table when no one else would. Now we need to keep hers.

RHYS: I must have been psychic because I bought my daughter this mask for her birthday, also one for me

I lIke to think of her shooting into the heavens like a giant rocket, exploding into a million stars that fall to Earth igniting a flame in all of us for justice and decency and equality
RBG rest in power!


  1. Sometimes mere words feel far too inadequate for the task of addressing the depth of our loss . . . it falls to each of us to continue along the path of justice forged by this remarkable woman. Rest in peace . . . .

  2. I thought: how do I best mourn her? I decided to honor her dying wish by writing to the 14 Republican Senators who said appointing a new Supreme Court Justice during the election process violates the will of the people. This was back in 2016 with Merrick Garland. I respectfully asked them to keep their commitment. What else can be done? I am reminded of the Story of Ruth from Bible and the well known quote: Ruth says: where you will go I will go, and where you will stay I will stay. Today I will rededicate my efforts towards creating caring justice for all of us.

    Final thoughts. Ruth is an name that is out of fashion. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a new generation of baby girls would be named after RBG?

    1. Those are great ideas Coralee. John and I had that song sung at our wedding and I've always loved it.

      Now I regret that I didn't name the puppy Ruth!

    2. Coralee, her first name--which she never used, was Joan, which is also an underused name. My mother's name, the only person with it in our enormous Catholic family.

  3. I think Coralee is right, that we have to create a stir about any attempt to fill her seat until the next president takes office. If it's Trump, then he still gets his choice, and only a few months late. If it's Biden, then we still have a balanced court, which is not a bad thing. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant.

  4. She was, is , and always will be one of the true idols of my life. Today we all mourn. Tomorrow we fight any way we can..


    Eugene Scalia remembers the Ginsburg-Scalia NYEve dinner parties and the great friendship his father enjoyed with RBG.

    And Nina Totenberg writes about her long and close friendship with RGB:

    Rest in peace, RBG. Your legacy will be forever.

  6. The other night when the news broke, my three adult daughters and I were madly texting sorrowful messages to one another. Like so many others, we all admired her so much.

    My youngest, who was the 111th female graduate of The Citadel, owes her ability to say that, at least in part, to RBG. One of her landmark cases was to successfully argue that women should be admitted to the previously all-male Virginia Military Institute, another of the six military academies in the US.

    Lawyer Ginsberg, as the director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, deliberately chose gender equality cases that focused on male rights, as well as women's. In other words, she embodied the idea of equality, down to the cellular level.

    Margaret, thanks for the link to Nina Totenberg's memories.

  7. I was delighted to learn so much more about RBG in recent years, with the movies and books. I even ordered her exercise book and started doing planks. Learning of her death brought so many tears. I was on the couch with a kitten on my lap, so I dove into my phone and saw I was far from alone.

    I echo what all of you say about this giant, this shooting star, this beacon. Ginsburg was our fierce light and it's up to all of us to carry on her work and her example.

  8. My first thought was, Ruth, not now, come back. Her death is a huge loss to justice and to the Court. I like Coralee's suggestion. Let's honor her by not rushing to a replacement. As Gigi said, if it's still Trump's choice, then it has only be delayed by a few months. If it's Biden's... My biggest fear is an election that will have to be decided in the Court and I fear that will be Trump's rallying cry to appoint early.

  9. With the Senate and president we currently have, I fear no respect will be paid to words uttered years ago nor to RBG's last wish. She was a towering force in our lives--a warrior for us all--I hope she has inspired generations of women and men to take up her torch and bear it proudly.

  10. As so often happens when I'm sad, I turn to poetry - - - and, as alwasy, Leslé Honoré says what's in my heart.

    Rest now You Giant

    You Warrior

    You Brilliant Brave Soul

    You who gave Us Courage

    And Hope

    Rest now

    More than a Trail Blazer

    You didn’t make history

    You changed it

    Reshaped it

    Course corrected

    You who gave Us all of You

    Fought for Us with all of You

    With every moment God gave You

    With every Breath

    Rest now

    It’s Our turn

    To take up Your mantle

    To not lose sight

    To push on

    You taught Us how to fight

    You made Us more than soldiers

    You leave an Army in your wake

    You taught Us what legacy is

    To give more than we take

    Rest now

    You Champion

    You Queen

    You Glorious

    Forever #RBG

    Forever Our Hero


    - - - Leslé Honoré

  11. Ms Ruth was one of a kind. Rest in peace.

  12. I love that, Kaye. Thank you so much for sharing it. Love. Love. Love.

    Here are some favorite RBG quotes that I read on Axios (thanks for the rec, Hallie) this morning:

    Keeper quotes by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from AP's Jessica Gresko:

    Ginsburg often dispensed a piece of wisdom her mother-in-law gave her on her wedding day. The secret to a happy marriage: "Sometimes it helps to be a little deaf." Ginsburg said it was excellent advice in dealing with her colleagues on the court.

    Ginsburg's son, James, was what she called a "lively child," and she would often get calls from his New York City school. Ginsburg finally told the school: "This child has two parents. Please alternate calls."

    This is my favorite ... Ginsburg liked to quote Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: "Sandra said, 'Where would the two of us be if there had been no discrimination? Well, today we'd be retired partners from a large law firm.'"

  13. Thank you, Kaye, for the poem. I'll be rereading it for a good while. Lots of reading and reflecting today, on Ruth's life and on how to honor her legacy going forward...

  14. Oh, this is so perfect. Rhys, you are so right about the starlight. Yes.

  15. My husband and I went to the theatre to see the documentary on RBG (those were the days when we weren’t afraid to leave the house) and during the part about their marriage, my husband turns to me and says, wow, she was lucky to have a husband who supported her career. I just gave him a long look and pretended to be deaf. Thank you, Ruth, for the marriage advice. I hope that one day all husbands can be like Marty Ginsberg and all wives can be a RBG.

  16. This is a wonderful tribute to RBG. I remember when she was appointed to the Supreme Court. And when we were at the Left Coast Crime conference in Vancouver, I remember that we were in our hotel room when we watched ON THE BASIS OF SEX. I thought that Ruth and Marty were a wonderful team. I am still in shock.

    1. Me, too, Diana. It says something about what a force she was that the country is shocked - shocked! that an 87 year-old who had fought multiple bouts of cancer could possibly have died. That tiny little frame somehow seemed immortal.

  17. My dear Reds and fellow commenters, you all have done such a lovely and thorough job of honoring this extraordinary woman. And, every time I write amazing woman or extraordinary woman or brilliant woman, I have to speak to her life work or equality. She was indeed all those things, but not just "for a woman." She was an extraordinary person, beyond the label of which sex she was. Jenn mentioned what Sandra Day O'Connor said, and I've been thinking about that, too. We actually owe thanks to the large law firms that turned down the talents of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as she probably would have been an outstanding member of such a law firm, but we women would have lost a champion.

    In my grief and through my tears, I know that she hung on longer than what should have been possible, and I'm happy for her that her suffering is over. Selfishly, I wanted her to be immortal, or at least live a few months more, and I know how much she must have wanted to stay here for us, to give us her all, beyond her all. While upset for what her death means politically, I can't be upset that she is at last at peace and with her beloved Marty.

    And, here is something I came across on FB and shared on my FB page. I don't know the woman who wrote it, but I did check her page, and she seems dedicated to equal rights for all. So, I'll share this short piece here, too, a piece that lifts us up a bit.

    Lindsey Keirsey
    If she had lived 100 years it would have been too few.
    In a world where women are expected to comply, she said "I dissent."
    In a world where love has been kept in a box with rules, she said "I dissent."
    In a world where borders are drawn tighter and walls are built higher, she said "I dissent."
    In a world where fiction is told as truth and facts are twisted into lies, she said "I dissent."
    And so, on a night when it feels like the pendulum has swung off its fulcrum, like there is no place to make a U-turn, like the darkness is winning, I will say - loudly so as to convince myself - I dissent.
    For decades she stared unafraid into the faces of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and bigotry, daring them to blink. She wrote reams and spoke volumes and did push-ups while her detractors... I don't know, ate cheeseburgers or whatever.
    So because she did, I can. Because she did, I will.
    Tonight feels like the end of something, but it doesn't have to be. This is a moment that, instead of being the death of hope, can be the birth of a renewed zeal. Giving up feels very easy, even warranted, but it also feels disrespectful to her memory. We can take this moment and turn it into a movement. We can, like the Notorious RBG, dissent. We can, like her, dissent until the very breath leaves our bodies.
    Thank you, Honorable Justice Ginsburg. You fought harder and longer than you should have had to, for us, and we are so grateful. Rest well; you earned it.
    Oyez, oyez, oyez.
    Tonight, we cry. But tomorrow, we rise.
    #NotoriousRBG #toomuch2020 #idissent

    1. Ms. Keirsey's post is well said. Thank you for sharing.

    2. That's a wonderful piece of writing, Kathy. Thank you for sharing.

  18. What a nice tribute to an amazing woman. Being a female attorney myself, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a legal idol to me long before she took her seat on the Supreme Court. She was a trailblazer, a pioneer, an incredible jurist and a champion of justice that will be missed. Women today owe their ability to do simple things like have a credit card in their own name to renting an apartment on their own to Ruth Bader Ginsdurg. This is what she fought for as an attorney and as an advocate of equal justice and women's rights. She was setting precedents before the Supreme Court long before she was deciding cases and authoring opinions. The news of her passing was surprising and heartbreaking to me. I honored her memory last night at a socially distant vigil held at our local court. I will use my voice to ask republican Senators to honor the precedent they set in 2016. I will continue to honor her memory and work by using my legal experience to volunteer for those causes that will continue to fight for women's rights, equal justice, LGBTQ rights, and Healthcare. In the words of Elizabeth Warren on the steps of the Supreme Court last night - in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's memory I Will Fight.

    1. Peggy, that's lovely. Yes, the way to honor RBG is to continue to fight for the equality, civil rights and justice for all she fought for her whole life.

  19. "I like to think of her shooting into the heavens like a giant rocket, exploding into a million stars that fall to Earth igniting a flame in all of us for justice and decency and equality
    RBG rest in power!"
    What a magnificent, stunning image, Rhys! Thank you.
    Thank you all.

  20. RHYS BOWEN: I’m still in a state of shock after learning of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ve been crying when I’m normally quite stoic. But I suppose this is fear and despair mixed with grief

    Your words capture my state of mind exactly. I cried in the evening when I heard the news (my daughter and I cried together on the phone, 160 miles apart), and in the morning I had a major meltdown in the presence of my astonished husband (what HAPPENED to his stoic partner of 44 years?!?) as I described the vision of an apocalyptic fututr that had grown in my mind during a restless night.

    I’m better now, thank heavens, and being held up nb6 the thought that individual actions matter and as RBG told us, we have a responsibility to make a positive difference in our own community. (She said it more eloquently, of course.) we are all stronger for having had her to look up to.

  21. My friend's daughter, Emily Misch, had the honor (and gift) to sing the role of RBG in the opera. They all met and found her warm and approachable, and a friendship grew. And yes, she was brilliant, and committed to making our country wiser, kinder, and equal...for all.

  22. Thank you for this. I teared up reading it. We must fight for the world she envisioned. One where justice is never blind, and every human is treated with equal respect and compassion.

  23. A great light has been extinguished. We must continue to fight on in her honor. And we must do everything we can to convince the Senate to not confirm a new justice until after January 20, 2021.