Ginsburg’s manner made her a role model
The Notorious RBG, as some admirers referred to her, is gone. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, at 87, of cancer.
She was an icon to Americans with certain political positions — a scourge to others. Already, the battle over a successor has become heated, with ideology at the heart of the controversy.
It says something about Ginsburg, however, that during the hours after her death, leaders from throughout the political spectrum poured forth praise freely and with no reservations.
Her written opinions as a justice “have inspired all Americans and generations of great legal minds,” said President Donald Trump.
Ginsburg “never failed in the fierce and unflinching defense of liberty and freedom,” said Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Former President George W. Bush put his finger on an imporant aspect of her legacy. Ginsburg “inspired more than one generation of women and girls,” he wrote.
Indeed she did. At a time when glass ceilings remain a concern for many women and girls, Ginsburg showed that it is possible for a woman to ascend — through dedication, skill and hard work — to the very pinnacle of government power in our nation. We often think of presidents in that role, but in some of her votes and opinions as a justice, Ginsburg wielded more real power than any president.
Her courage and dedication to what she believed was right stood out. At an age when most people feel they have contributed enough and are entitled to the joys of retirement, Ginsburg fought on. Simply because she feared that if she retired, her successor would not hold similar ideals, she refused to retire, even as she battled cancer.
Whether we agree or disagree with her positions, Ginsburg provided a model of standing up for what one believes to be right.
And, it has been pointed out, she disagreed without rancor. Among her closest friends while on the court was the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
That, too, is a model to which many Americans ought to look.
Her decisions as a justice will not be missed by everyone, but her way of pursuing what she saw as right and of serving as a role model — for men as well as women — will be missed sorely.