Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We know her name because she was a supreme court justice. So important in that exalted realm of the legal and political world that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the first woman to lie in state in the capital.
Look up the news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and you will find articles covering every aspect of her life. She left an impressive resume: Taught at Rutgers University Law School, became the first female tenured professor at Columbia University, Women’s Rights Project Director of the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1970s. Appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. Bill Clinton named her to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.
We know what she stood for and the battles she fought, this diminutive woman stood up to all who disagreed with her. What many don’t know is “the rest of the story.” It is revealing and teaches incredibly important life lessons we all can emulate, whether we agreed or disagreed with her legal philosophies.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg very successfully separated the value of a person from what they believed. Case in point is her especially close friendship with Anton Scalia. His son Christopher has shared his memories: “I’m very sad to hear about the passing of my parents’ good friend, and my father’s wonderful colleague, Justice Ginsburg. May her memory be a blessing.” In today’s culture they should have been enemies. Instead, they were devoted friends.
The friendship was between couples, the Scalias and the Ginsburgs. “I’ve long thought Justice Ginsburg enjoyed my father’s company in part for some of the qualities that drew her to Marty. Both were extroverts who brought a boisterous levity that she did not, but which she enjoyed and, I think, knew she needed.”
“This appreciation for differences was as integral to the justices’ friendship as the similarities. She had made her mark as a pioneering advocate for women’s rights; my father was a traditional Catholic who came to prominence as a critic of activist courts. He respected what she had achieved in an era when the deck was stacked against her; from her experiences, he gained insight and depth of understanding. He liked learning and could learn from her.”
“What we can learn from the justices, though — beyond how to be a friend — is how to welcome debate and differences… “Not for a moment did one think the other should be condemned or ostracized. More than that, they believed that what they were doing — arriving at their own opinions thoughtfully and advancing them vigorously — was essential to the national good. With less debate, their friendship would have been diminished, and so, they believed, would our democracy.”
Justice Scalia may have put it best: “What’s not to like?” he said of Ginsburg at a joint appearance in 2014, according to USA Today. “Except her views on the law.”
This is so much deeper than simply about the lost art of learning from each other. This is the heart and soul depth of valuing a person because they are a person—regardless of color or creed or any other divisive idea. It is bridging the less important to get to the intrinsic goodness—and delight—of each individual in spite of surface differences. What a great loss if we turn our backs on someone simply because we disagree politically or philosophically! How we belittle our own learning when we don’t have the courage to listen, to test our beliefs, to stretch and grow in our understanding of others.
One last word from Justice Ginsburg: “I am a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.”
#RuthBaderGinsburg, #RGB, #Ohmy!Arts, #friendship, #disagreements, #listening
Listening and learning,