By Isa Covo
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. No one can say it was not expected; after all, she was in and out of hospitals in recent months. She resisted death as much as she could. She was tough—she was from New York, more specifically, from Brooklyn, NY.
In her last decade Ginsburg became as popular as a rock star. She visibly enjoyed it, and handled it well with intelligence and humor.
She deserves her fame, not just for her stage presence and interviews where she spoke in a soft, almost halting voice. Who would have guessed that she was a steely litigator?
In the courts she was a successful champion of gender equality. Many current changes that are now well-anchored parts of our lives are the results of her efforts: labor laws, gun laws, reproductive rights, protections of the environment. When she started her professional life, any jobs a woman could find (even a well-educated woman) were not on the level that a man could aspire to. But now, we are not surprised when women are CEOs. OK, there are still not enough women at the top, but that is coming.
What did you think of the feminine touch she brought to the drab judicial robes, wearing those various collars, some frilly, some more severe? I found them charming. In street clothes she was elegantly and perfectly groomed.
Did you attend any of those spontaneous celebrations of her life around town? I did. The participants were loud and passionate, celebrating her life, and at the same time it was all very sadly clear to us that we were mourning her. Masks were de rigueur, but, unfortunately, there was not much distancing. Wear your mask, and don’t stay too long in a crowd. Appreciate an event from a distance.
One song that was repeated often was Amazing Grace. The title of this song described Ruth Ginsburg well, for she had an amazing grace.
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg was known to be a bad cook, so to honor her there will be no recipe this time.
Wear your mask in public, keep social distance, wash your hands, get a flu vaccine now, keep the air circulating in your home. We must get past this plague, and I beg you to follow the rules that will slow down its spread until there is a vaccine or cure for it.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 1933-2020
May her life be an inspiration.
If you want more information on Ginsburg’s judicial path, accomplishments, and life, I recommend Jill Lepore’s excellent New Yorker article: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Great Equalizer,” September 18, 2020.