Sunday, March 10, 2019

Thoughts after Reading Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life

Here it is the tenth of March, and it's my first post of the month. Time has been swallowed up by household disasters, which are now (finally!) resolved, at least for the time being. So very grateful.

Due to a vicious cold, I'm more or less grounded at home right now, which has given me the chance to catch up with reading.
I've finished the audio of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life by Jane Sherron De Hart (2018), which in book form is about 732 pages. It's an academic work, but it really answered many of my questions and expanded my view, especially of cases in the mid-20th century.
What I liked best is that I learned a tremendous amount about the prominent progressive legal cases of the mid-late 20th century, the ultra-conservative backlash from the late 20th century, and its solidifying presence in the 21st century (think lard or concrete). I never thought I'd live to see Supreme Court justices so conservative (so reactionary, as progressives labeled ultra-conservatives in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s) that they would regard and interpret the Constitution literally, analyzing the text, word by word, according to what each word literally meant in the late 18th century. That's Clarence Thomas. Neil Gorsuch. Samuel Alito. Chief Justice Roberts.
Think of that. That our Constitution should be used as a tool to reframe issues of the 21st century according to the values of the late 18th  century. Really. When the term man or men meant only white men of property. 
No wonder we are in such a mess right now, and I would have liked to have used harsher terms. The Supreme Court, in 2019, is no longer an institution to redress grievances for beleaguered citizens fighting oppression, but serves only corporations, powerful white men, and powerful religious leaders and groups. Analyze the cases they are hearing, the oral arguments, the decisions, and the dissents.

As a result of the current situation, dozens of recent and current cases that might have been appealed to the Supreme Court in the past, will no longer seek redress there. Because they know now they will lose.

So we now have all three branches of the federal government in disarray--executive, judicial, and legislative. What concerns me most is how the Supreme Court will respond to cases in which the rights of voters have been nullified due to conservatives' efforts to eliminate their votes. (Sorry about that last sentence. I couldn't get the wording just right.)


  1. So sorry to hear about your cold. I hope that you get better soon.

    I would like to read The Ginsburg book soon myself. I am also very concerned about this Supreme Court. Reactionary is the correct word for what The GOP has become. This already has led to great harm. Hopefully there will be such revulsion to Trump that in the coming years the GOP will lose the Presidency and Senate for a long time. Then maybe some balance can be restored to the Supreme Court.

    1. Hi Brian,
      Thank you for the good health wishes! I hope my body is listening. This is my first cold in two years, so maybe I'm due.
      I certainly am hoping for what you're wishing for as far as the presidency and Congress are concerned. One can only hope and wait, very trying things to do in these dark times.

  2. Of course we are in a total mess here in the UK but it seems your problems are even worse. I hate to say it but it looks to me like POTUS might get in again - and after that you'll have his son to deal with - a Trump dynasty. They seem to be disenfranchising those who won't be voting for the GOP.

    1. Katrina,
      I believe that millions more people should have taken to the streets when Obama was blocked from appointing a justice to the Supreme Court. I'm not worried about Donald Jr. or Eric Trump. Neither is acting like they have a solid interest in politics. From what I understand, Donald Jr. wants to continue his interests in global real estate, something he won't be able to do, not now, not after all the hoo-dah, about Donald Sr.
      The thing is this: The Courts in the Southern District of New York State are going to be trying Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Sr. This seems assured, according to the many cases being brought against them in New York State.
      A State Court can file as many suits as it wants against "criminals," for criminal acts within that state, without any interference from the federal government. At least there's that.

  3. The judiciary is in a sorry state at the moment, no doubt about it. If you're still craving more RBG, the audio version of My Own Words might be of interest. It features recordings of Ginsburg delivering many of her speeches, opinions, etc, and even one from her husband, Marty. I enjoyed it very much, but may finally be burned out - lol.

    1. Oh, yeah, still wanting more RBG. I definitely am planning on listening to In My Own Words. I think I'll reserve an audio CD from our library network. That way I can listen in the car. I so want to hear her voice delivering a dissent or a speech.
      And I'll be so glad to hear Marty!