Events in South Africa today reveal that the Progressives’ adored Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a moral and constitutional moron, not a brilliant Leftist avatar.
Progressives adore Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom they fondly call “Notorious RBG.” Indeed, in 2015, a book entitled Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit the New York Times bestseller list. The Times review of the book was adulatory, not just of the book, of course, but of “RBG” herself:
For 80 of her 82 years, the Supreme Court justice was known for being brilliant, reserved and a little dry.
Notorious R.B.G. refers to Notorious B.I.G., the young rapper who was killed in 1997. The unlikely comparison gave Ginsburg’s fans the perfect vehicle for turning her precise lawyerly voice into a cultural roar. Along with her Brooklyn-Jewish origins and five-foot-tall stature, Ginsburg supplied a vociferous dissent, in a 5-to-4 decision that dismantled a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Tossing out the law’s protection against discrimination when it was working, she wrote, “is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” It’s the kind of plain-spoken analogy that makes the work of the court come alive. Ginsburg offered another pithy one-liner, in the same term, when she criticized the government for treating same-sex marriage as “skim-milk marriage,” by denying gay couples federal tax benefits.
Did you get all that? Brilliant. Principled.
In 2014, the Supreme Court issued its Hobby Lobby decision, in which it held that closely held for-profit corporations can be exempted from regulations on religious grounds provided that there is a less restrictive way to further the law’s goals. Needless to say, Progressives were not happy with the decision, but they took comfort from Ginsburg’s “brilliant” dissent, even while going in for the kill about her selfish careerism:
[I]f you’re determined to find the silver lining, you could find some comfort that the latest landmark ruling from the court’s conservative majority gave Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg another chance to solidify her position as a liberal hero with another fiery dissent.
Yet while the growing cult of the Notorious RBG is a well-deserved testament to her brilliance as a jurist and talent as a writer, it ignores an uncomfortable reality about this current moment in the politics of the Supreme Court. Namely, the celebrations of her brilliance fail to recognize that the best thing Ruth Bader Ginsburg could do for the liberal movement right now is, arguably, to call an end to a sterling and trailblazing legal career and step down from the court.
Again, note those adjectives: “hero,” “brilliance,” “talent,” “sterling,” “trailblazing.” RBG is “da bomb.” [Read more…]