Friday, February 8, 2002
Justices Remain Friendly Despite Tension Over Cases, Ginsburg Tells Local Law School Gathering
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Members of the nation’s highest court maintain collegiality regardless of their divergent views of emotional and controversial cases, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a Los Angeles audience.
“We remain good friends,” she said Wednesday night, while acknowledging “temporary” strains resulting from the need to make difficult decisions. She specifically mentioned only one such case, Bush v. Gore, and noted that 40 percent of the high court’s rulings are unanimous.
That figure is “something the press rarely notes,” she commented.
Ginsburg made the remarks at a dinner attended by more than 300 alumni and benefactors of Southwestern University School of Law. The event was held in the historic Bullocks Wilshire Building that now houses the school’s library.
Ginsburg received a rousing introduction from Professor James A. Kushner, who teaches constitutional law and land-use planning at the school. Kushner said it was particularly significant that the event was taking place in the Bullocks building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, since Ginsburg was part of the 5-4 majority that upheld the constitutionality of historic preservation laws.
Ginsburg, Kushner noted, has been critically described as “the most dangerous justice” because she has often found herself in a 5-4 majority despite being one of only two justices appointed by a Democratic president.
In her brief comments, the justice said she and her colleagues maintain their cordiality, in part, by participating in a variety of extracurricular activities. These include recitals by world-famous singers and musicians—the court has a piano donated by the late Leonard Bernstein—and luncheons to which special guests are invited, she said.
The fare for the luncheons generally comes from the public cafeteria, she reported. The members have also partaken from time to time of delicacies from members of the justices’ families, including beef jerky prepared by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s brother—with whom O’Connor co-authored a recent book about life on the family ranch—and a cake prepared by Ginsburg’s husband.
Earlier in the day, the justice met with students in a discussion closed to the press and public. The subject was the history of women in the law, school spokeswoman Carolyn Ziegler-Davenport told the MetNews.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company