“We disagreed now and then, but even so, we were best buddies.” United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking of her friend and colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia at his funeral. 

The above quote is perhaps a mild one.  Justices Ginsburg and Scalia almost always disagreed on legal philosophy and the cases that came before the Court.  Yet, she shared a strong personal relationship with Scalia. 

That is pure class.

I disagreed with the liberal justice on many issues too.  But, I had the utmost respect for the 5’1” jurist from the tough streets of Brooklyn, NY.  She was fearless.

Ginsburg died from complications of pancreatic cancer last Friday, at age 87. It has been reported that she will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband Martin D. Ginsburg.

Early in her career, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and married Martin D. Ginsburg, becoming a mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia, where she graduated first in her class.

Before becoming a justice, she co-founded the ACLU, fought for equal justice for women, and advocated for liberal causes. 

Ginsburg was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on April 14, 1980, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; a springboard to SCOTUS.   She was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 18, 1980, and received her commission later that day. Her service terminated in 1993 due to her elevation to SCOTUS by President Bill Clinton.

At the time of her nomination, Ginsburg was viewed as a moderate. Clinton was reportedly looking to increase the court’s diversity, which Ginsburg did as the first Jewish justice since the 1969 resignation of Justice Abe Fortas. She was the second female and the first Jewish female justice of the Supreme Court. She was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 96-3. 

During her tenure on SCOTUS, she moved further to the left on a number of issues.  For many years, the Court comprised of four conservatives, four liberals, and Sandra Day O’Connor as the moderate “swing vote.” During this time, Justice Ginsburg became the leader of the four left wing justices.   

Ginsburg’s death creates a vacancy on the Supreme Court less than six weeks before a highly charged presidential election, during a time of civil strife, and a tough virus to defeat. 

America will truly be tested in the fall of 2020.

She also becomes the third SCOTUS justice that President Trump will replace with a justice of his choice.

Two names have been emerging from the list of Supreme Court contenders our President is said to be considering.

Judges Amy Coney Barrett in Chicago and Barbara Lagoa in Atlanta are said to top the list.

Trump has vowed to replace Ginsburg with a woman.  “It will be a woman — a very talented, very brilliant woman,” Trump said of his potential choice.

Justice Ginsburg, thank you for your service to our country and your display of class.  Perhaps one day, your friendship with the late Justice Scalia, like that of conservative President Reagan and liberal Speaker of the House Tip O’Neal, will become the norm rather than the exception.