* Ginsburg is so damn overrated. If she was a man with the exact same record he would be known as a CRUSHING BORE. A plodder.
* At the time she was nominated, Alan Dershowitz criticised the appointment, saying she had the soul of a tax lawyer and that wasn’t the person you wanted for your court of last resort.
* She built an entire elaborate legal edifice on top of a defective foundation. Men and women are profoundly different biologically; any legal system that fails to acknowledge this will result in a profoundly unhealthy society.
* Ginsburg’s life is written on her face. If you Google photos of her, you can see her smiling as a child, then pursing her lips in young womanhood, and finally full-on scowling by her later years. This is her real self. She was not a misguided hopeful universalist, she was simply angry over whatever and it turned her into an old, cold bitch who wanted to tear down what wasn’t consonant with her resentments.
* Despite her enormous self-regard (such that she deemed herself above the constraints to which she condemned the rest of us), the actual judicial opinions she wrote—or at least signed—rarely rose above sophistic casuistry. Happy to invoke a point of law when it was convenient, she retreated into abstract principle or irrelevant precedent when that would better suit her not very hidden agenda. She was no Judge Learned Hand, elucidating fundamental principles of justice. Nor was she even a Justice Scalia, whose jaundiced eye bemusedly surveyed the legal landscape congested with the corpses of leftist judicial dogmas asphyxiated by their absurd contortions, and whose flowing pen effortlessly mocked and cataloged these macabre monuments to liberal vanity. At the end of the day, Ginsburg was merely the agent of the prejudices she brought with her to the bench, busily fixing her preferences into legal stone, much to the disadvantage of everyone who has to live with the law she wrote.
Good riddance. She will only be missed by those who view the law as nothing more than a channel to impose their self-righteous vision on those less privileged than themselves.
* RBG seems to have rated herself a queen for life. She should have stepped down in 2014, and let Obama appoint her successor. But Queen Ruth wanted Hillary, our 1st female president to appoint her successor. So Obama was not good enough for her as her successor selector, just like most of those African American law grads who had sought a clerkship with queen Ruth.
* Ginsburg was number one in her class at Harvard Law School while managing not only her course load but also attending her husband’s classes to take notes for him, as he had been diagnosed with cancer. I can tell you that being #1 at Harvard Law School (which at the time had only a handful of female students) even without attending your spouse’s courses to boot is no small feat – it requires not only high intelligence but a prodigious work ethic. As for the workaholic, she showed up at the Supreme Court the day after her husband’s funeral.
This explains why she did not retire under Obama – what was she going to do – stay home and watch soap operas? Even knowing that she was ill, she must have found the work to be distracting. She had been “hitting the books” literally every day since childhood.
The other reason that she did not retire is that she (along with most people) felt certain that Hillary was going to win. So not only would she able to get in another couple of years of work but then she would have the honor of having a woman President name her replacement. Of all the disappointed households on Election Night 2016, hers must have ranked near the top. Of course at that point she was stuck and had no choice but to cling to her seat to the bitter end.
You can see why black law clerks were out of the question for her – even most whites except for the ones at the very tippy top could never meet her standards. There are a lot of blacks in Ivy League law schools nowadays thanks to AA, but as Wax has mentioned elsewhere, they are almost always clustered at the bottom of the class.
This also explains her unwillingness to go along with the Current Year ethic, which requires a certain degree of protective stupidity. Stupidity of any kind was just not on the menu at the Ginsburg household. The Ginsburgs represented sort of the high water mark of meritocracy in America, rising from modest roots (her father immigrated at age 13 and operated a small hat shop) to the pinnacle of American society based purely on their fierce intelligence.
* I’m wondering to what degree Ginsburg ever wrote anything memorable.
I’ve seen plenty a riposte in Scalia’s rulings that were witty, charming, and utterly scathing (especially when he was penning a dissent). I don’t recall ever reading a single such sentence by Ginsburg. Granted, I do tend to hang out in the more conservative corners of the web, but I would still think that after 27 years I would have come across something.
* You’re missing this: confirmation hearings are not about a nominee showing U.S. Senators (and the audience watching at home) how Really Really Smart they are. Nominees who try that sink like a stone. Recall Robert Bork, a genuine legal theorist and scholar. When asked during his confirmation hearing why he wanted to be on the Supreme Court, Bork replied, “It would be an intellectual feast.” Worst answer ever.
By contrast, Ruth Ginsburg understood that the purpose of confirmation hearings is to flatter the senators who will be voting on your nomination, and to say as little as possible of any real substance. If you are Really Really Smart, it’s best to keep that to yourself until you’re safely on the bench. Ginsburg was confirmed, 96-3, so obviously her strategy was the right one.
Bork was ten, maybe twenty times the legal mind that Ginsburg was — but he forgot that the judicial confirmation process is an elaborate piece of Kabuki theatre, with its own codes and rituals. Maybe he just didn’t want to betray his own intellectual convictions; maybe he couldn’t be bothered to trot out stock answers to silly questions that he thought beneath him. (My grandmother, z”l, kept asking me why he hadn’t shaved his scraggly beard before going on live television. She thought it made him look sloppy.) But there’s Really Really Smart, and then there’s Too Smart For His Own Good. Ginsburg was Just Smart Enough to get confirmed.
* THE NEW REPUBLIC, which in its heyday was described as “a more Jewish version of COMMENTARY,” came under fire in the late 1990s for never having had a black staffer. Washington Post publisher Donald Graham, usually an even-tempered fellow, said in 1995 that TNR’s motto should be “Looking for a Qualified Black Since 1914.”
* Not only is she going to be on display for 2 days at the Supreme Court but yet another day in Congress thanks to Nancy Pelosi. We should be glad that they don’t pickle her and put her on permanent display.
What’s shocking to me about this is how far it departs from Jewish custom. It was well known that Ginsburg was not a practicing Jew, having adopted the “tikkun olam” school of Judaism where liberal politics substitutes for any actual religious practice. However, the family did retain some vestiges of Jewishness, such as the fact that her grandchildren called her “Bubbie” (Yinglish for bubbe, grandmother, and not BTW Nana as Steve proposed) although the “dying wish” granddaughter is name Spera for her Italian Catholic father.
Judaism, like Islam, calls for prompt burial. In a hot Middle Eastern climate you don’t want dead bodies hanging around and infecting the living. The dead are given a prompt but respectful burial and the mourning process proceeds with them safely in the ground. Usually, even secular Jews who have fallen away from most religious practice still keep some vestiges of it in connection with important life events.
But the fact that Ginsburg is being given a funeral that is more in accordance with Communist than with Jewish practice speaks volumes and reinforces how unseemly it was that the family attempted to make political hay out of her death by circulating the “dying wish”. I personally don’t doubt that Ginsburg said this (nor is it necessary to disbelieve that she did in order to give it the weight which it deserves, which is none) but there was no reason (other than politics) for the family to bring this wish into the public sphere.
BTW, let us suppose as a law school hypothetical (Ginsburg would have appreciated this) that Ginsburg made the same dying wish but that the year was 2016. Let’s say that she asked the same favor from Obama that she is now asking from Trump. Although one would expect her, as a liberal Democrat, to WANT her replacement to be named by the current President (this alone reveals that it was a base partisan sentiment and nothing to do with respect for the Constitution or any such nonsense) she for unknown reasons (maybe she secretly doesn’t like shvartzes, maybe she wants Hillary to name her replacement – we will never know because all we have to go on is her cryptic last message that her replacement should be named by the new President) makes this same request to her granddaughter. What would have happened then? Would her wish have been afforded the same publicity and weight or would it perhaps have never even left the hospital room? Would the press and the Democrat establishment (but I repeat myself) be loudly clamoring for this wish to be respected or would it be dismissed as perhaps the delirious words of a dying woman?