Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the big names in US jurisprudence: a judge’s judge who has sat on the Supreme Court since 1993. At 81, “R.B.G.” is regarded as both inspirational and brilliant with dissents that have marked judicial history in the US who has been the focal point of more law school discussions and debates than any jurist in recent times.
The New Republic’s Jeffrey Rosen interviewed R.B.G., noting:
At 81, Ginsburg has become an icon to the left, inspiring fanwear and Tumblr tributes. Her dissents in the most hotly contested of the Court’s recent cases unabashedly defend progressive principles while taking her colleagues to task. (“The Court falters at each step of its analysis,” she wrote in her dissent of the five-four Hobby Lobby ruling.)
Having avoided the spotlight for most of her two decades on the bench, she has emerged as an outspoken critic of the conservative majority, which she has lambasted in media outlets from National Law Journal to Elle. Now, however, liberals have a new fear: that Ginsburg has stuck around too long, and should have stepped down while President Barack Obama had the best chance of replacing her with a successor who shares her ideals.
In mid-September, during a moment of quiet before the new term begins on October 6, I sat down for a conversation with Justice Ginsburg in the Supreme Court’s Lawyer’s Lounge. I have known Ginsburg since 1991, when we met while she was sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and I was a law clerk for its chief judge, Abner Mikva.
(One day, I ran into her in the courthouse elevator, as she was coming back from a workout in a leotard and leggings. She was a formidable presence, even in gym clothes.) We have kept in touch over the years. But this was our most extended discussion about the more outspoken approach she has adopted and where she sees the Court, and the country, headed.