Saturday, 19 September 2020

rip rbg

As consequential and inopportune her death is and one hopes that her “most fervent” wish will be respected, one also hopes that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s departure (1933 – 2020) and vacancy in the US Supreme Court does not eclipse her life and career as a champion for justice, equality and access. One of my favourite details of her biography was her early desire to become an opera singer—before having any aspirations at law—and the eventual pop culture icon’s supernumery stage roles (extras—usually non-speaking parts but was once appointed to the judgeship in decide the case in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, bring justice for Shylock) and her regular attendance at shows in Washington, DC.

Despite pronounced ideological differences, Ginsburg considered fellow justice (at the Supreme Court and previously at the US Court of Appeals) Antonin Scalia (1936 – 2016, see also that succession crisis with this vacancy likely to be the encore) and often went to the opera together, twice appearing together in the Richard Strauss comedy of manners Ariadne auf Naxos—an instance of unexpected collegiality that inspired its own opera buffa in 2015. The string of lace jabots illustrated is from the excellent SCOTUS Blog (their obituary linked up top) and was Ginburg’s signature accessory and was said to wear particular one’s depending on her mood and what sort of opinion—dissenting or majority—she was issuing. Let’s all wear black and gold and uphold her legacy and hard-won victories.