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A loss for the Court, and for the country

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

“Serving on this Court is the highest honor, the most awesome trust, that can be placed in a judge. It means working at my craft — working with and for the law — as a way to keep our society both ordered and free.”

— Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993

 

Where were you when you heard Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died? Because that is just how iconic this Supreme Court Justice, who served since 1993 and was only the second woman to be appointed to that Court, had become to a large swath of our society. We are all discussing where we heard it and the effect it had on us. Her courage in the face of adversity throughout her life made her a hero not only to other lawyers and judges, but also to many others in all walks of life who saw her as a champion for their rights. 

And fight she did for the rights of so many in this country. She made it her life’s mission to protect and increase gender equality and civil rights for all Americans, and her unique position as a Supreme Court Justice gave her the power and voice to implement real change. Yet she stood strong without hostility or anger. She firmly believed she was right, surely, and let that confidence speak for itself, without needing to attack her fellow Justices. She gave this fight her all, keeping going as cancer deprived her of health and physical strength, always keeping her priorities straight.

It was strangely comforting, for those on social media, to see the many tributes and positive postings about Ginsburg, at a time when communication online is otherwise so often completely toxic. She would have been glad to know her legacy was embraced by many, and would be even happier if the next Supreme Court Justice were named after the Nov. 3 election. With that discussion, more contentious commentary has arisen.

In a posting on Facebook the night Ginsburg died on Friday, Sept. 18, state Rep. Maria Horn (D-64), an attorney, wrote these words:

“She was appointed to the Supreme Court the year I graduated from law school, so her tenure on that court defined my own legal career. We could always rely on her to ask the questions that needed asking, say the things that needed saying, and write the future for all of us. It is remarkable both what she herself changed, and how much of that legacy is in peril. We, and our daughters and granddaughters, are her legacy now.”

Would that all discourse on social media were as civil and uplifting as those words, and so many others that were written that day about Ginsburg, an extraordinary, admired and beloved woman.

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