Bench Memos

Re: Poor Justice Ginsburg

A follow-up to my post last week about Justice Ginsburg’s reliance on sexist stereotypes:  Again last Friday (according to this AP report published in the Washington Post), Ginsburg lamented being “all alone on the court” a year after Justice O’Connor’s retirement, and she asserted that she and O’Connor “have certain sensitivities that our male colleagues lack.”

I’ll confess that when I think of a model of caring Ginsburg comes to my mind about as readily as Nurse Ratched.  But let’s assume for the moment that Ginsburg is more the nurturing Mother Earth-type than the Ice Queen that her public persona suggests.  The traditional understanding of judging is that judges, rather than indulging their “sensitivities”, should be dispassionate.  Ginsburg evidently rejects that (very male?) understanding, but it would be good to see her present an actual argument in support of her position. 

Perhaps Ginsburg is just emoting publicly about how lonely she is.  But it seems more sensible to read her comments as clamoring for the next Supreme Court appointment to be a woman or as criticizing the effect that Justice Alito’s replacement of O’Connor is having on pending cases.  Neither would seem becoming of a justice.     


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