Trump Style of Governing: How Much Can I Get Away With? / Reposted from January 12, 2017 by marilyn salenger

                                                                                         Photo by Gage Skidmore

                                                                                         Photo by Gage Skidmore

Whether it's Russia, tax returns, conflicts of business interests, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, his sons, a lack of complete vetting for cabinet nominees or his use of Twitter, Donald Trump is approaching his presidency by pushing the boundries of laws, traditions and norms. We have a President-Elect who remains combative with a clear reluctance to let go of his campaign mode of operation. I won. Therefore I am.

President-Elect Trump will either rise to the occasion of assuming the presidential mantle, or he will sink. There seems to be little middle ground for a man who has come up in the world working hard to get his own way, although not always succeeding.

Interspersed with the glitter that's an integral part of his life, Donald Trump and his team have created a transition period filled with strategic chaos being felt around the world. Surrogates continue to be put out front explaining what Trump really meant to say to those who still might have any questions, knowing that a morning Tweet could undo anything previously said. A rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, no matter what your party, does not a smooth transition make, and the public appears to be feeling its affects.

The majority of Americans, according to the latest Pew Research survey, give President-Elect Trump "low marks for how he is handling the transition process".  There continues to be "widespread concern" about potential conflicts of interest, and his tax returns remain a bigger issue than he lets on. While Trump still refuses to release the tax returns that would provide a factual accounting of his financial interests, 60% of Americans now believe that he has a responsibility to do so. This runs contrary to the President-Elect's repeated comments that the only people interested in his tax returns are the news media. He once again attacked reporter's questions on the subject at his news conference on January 11, 2017, dismissisng them outright. Both the reporters and their questions. 

The level of Donald Trump's continued anger and disrespect for the news media and most anything he doesn't like that they report, sets a dangerous course going forward. A President doesn't have to agree with all that is written or said about him, but freedom of the press acts as a critical check and balance on our government. It stands as the First Amendment to our Constitution for a reason. Not since Richard Nixon have we had a man, soon to become President, continually attack the media with such vitriolic vehemence. It has the ability to signal red flags ahead. 

President-Elect Donald Trump is a man showing intent to govern in a way that reflects a desire and nature to try and get away with as much as he can until he receives insurmountable push back. We have a strong responsiblity to our nation and ourselves to make sure all checks and balances, whether it's Congress or the media, are in strong working order and are held accountable. There's too much at stake.

Amazon Bookstores You've Got Mail by marilyn salenger

The giant who ate everyone else for lunch has cleared the ground for itself as book selling continues to take on new meaning. Amazon's opening of brick and mortar bookstores is one of the most bizarre deja vu business stories of our time. It's the stuff movies are made of - and it's already been made. Rewind to 1998 when a movie called "You've Got Mail" humanized the bookstore wars of that time. Tom Hanks was the big bad large bookseller putting little old bookstore owner Meg Ryan out of business. The big guy fell in love with the little gal and they lived happily ever after with one bookstore.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon don't appear to be interested in the happiliy ever after part as much as they are in empire building. Yes, we all love Amazon, but here's a look at book business reality. The company worked hard to revolutionize or destroy (whichever word works best for you) as much of bookstore business as possible when they began selling books online. They reduced the price customers pay for books while reducing the amount of money their authors make.

With an inability to compete, thousands of small bookstores as well as large chains have gone out of business. Borders, one of the original megastore books sellers, went out of business in 2011. Barnes and Noble, it's early competition, is fighting for survival. With the opening of Amazon bookstores, the behemoth is stepping in to replace what they previously stepped upon. Even in some of the same neighborhoods. What will be missing are the almost intangible and valued feelings of intimacy, community and camaraderie that small book stores can provide. 

The battle of bookstores has become an evolutionary process with a survival of the fittest mentality. "You've Got Mail" actually portrayed the story of what used to be a beloved neighborhood bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. on the upper West Side of New York City. The small shop became enmeshed in a struggle to survive competition from the then reigning giant, Barnes and Noble. The big guy opened a very big store very close by complete with Starbucks, couches and lounge chairs. Shakespere & Co. was finally forced to close its doors after serving the community for 15 years.

In my own New York City days during the '80's and '90's, our treasured neighborhood bookstore was in the Columbus Circle area. It was called Coliseum Books and had a wonderful collection of something for everyone that helped make a busy city more like home. It was there that my young son learned to love shopping for books that became a part of his childhood library. Coliseum Books said good-bye to us in much the same way as Shakespere & Co. did to their neighbors. Barnes and Noble opened yet another big store blocks away near Lincoln Center.

Bigger is better was the overarching premise, and it worked for awhile until it didn't. Take notice Amazon. Barnes and Noble closed it's Lincoln Center location in 2011 adding to their shrinking numbers. The bookstore leader went from 798 stores in 2008 to 640 stores in 2016, losing its top business position.

Coming full circle, Amazon has opened one of its big new bookstores right in the old New York City neighborhood in between the burial grounds of Collseum Books and Barnes and Noble Lincoln Center. If everything old is new again, why did we get rid of the old to begin with?

Trump Presidency Is Dragging Us Down by marilyn salenger

Trump unhappy.jpg

I now understand why watching dog and cat videos online is so popular. They aren't Tweeting, arguing, writing memos or sharing confidential information. These wonderful critters simply make us feel a little better no matter what, and as a country we sure need something to smile about.

Four months of Donald Trump's time in office have left us reeling. The intensity of the daily dose of stress emanating from the White House is taking a toll greater than I believe most anyone expected. He talks the talk and walks the walk of a man who as I noted months ago is out of his league.  Diplomacy is not run like a business.  Government is not just about brokering deals.  The nuance so badly needed in a President comes with experience and knowledge, neither of which our President has shown interest in accumulating. The stakes were high when we elected a man with no governing experience as President. They have now reached close to a number 9.0 on the Richter Scale.

Our allies are questioning the future sharing of intelligence with the United States after Trump's unfathomable breech of sharing classified information during his White House meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador. One day after firing FBI Director James Comey. Putin apparently called Trump asking for the meeting and now appears emboldened by the move. President Trump is reeling from its fallout. 

Russia and Trump. This is the relationship that stands out above all else in President Donald Trump's administration and will become its historical marker. No matter what Russia is accused of doing to challenge our democracy, the President continues to view them as an ally and treat them as a partner. They have become the diversion extraordinaire.

None of this makes us feel good or tended to. The polls that Trump used to love to tout are blasting out numbers bound to haunt him. The latest poll released by Public Policy Polling shows nearly half (48%) of Americans now say they support impeachment proceedings for Trump. That in itself is astounding but not unexpected. 

We're reaching a limit as to how much we can take. President Trump has become a walking crisis machine, and our country deserves better. We've been floundering in the midst of too many days of crisis and too few days of governance under his so-called leadership.

The appointment of Robert Mueller, a former FBI Director under Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, as special counsel sets the underlying tone going forward. With investigations into the alleged involvements by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and Trump's campaign as well as the potential presidential obstruction of justice, the Trump White House has been compromised. His presidency has reached a critical turning point, and we can't even be sure that he recognizes it. The incompetence level continues to shock.


"I Am Not A Crook" - Second Generation by marilyn salenger

                   May 10, 2017  President Donald Trump and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak                                                                       Photo from Twitter

                   May 10, 2017  President Donald Trump and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak                                                                       Photo from Twitter

President Trump's extraordinary move firing FBI Director James Comey in the midst of an investigation into potential Russian involvement with Trump aides and the election has ramifications that are only beginning to unfold. The trust of judgement in question after Comey's firing is that of trust in President Trump. His latest action has potentially set up his own downfall. 

As timelines continue to unfold, it's becoming clear that Trump apparently made the decision to fire the FBI Director after learning of Comey's request for increased resources to continue the Russian investigation.  Reports confirm Mr. Comey made that request to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, the same man who days later wrote the Justice Department’s memo used to justify Comey's firing.

With reports of the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election heating up, President Trump was aware that Federal prosecutors had recently issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former NSA Advisor Michael Flynn.  On Monday Trump heard the testimony of two additional people he's fired, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. They appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee providing details about Flynn as well as revealing that the intelligence community was looking into Trump's business ties to Russia. 

The plausibility of President Trump's continued denials of Russian involvement in the election or his business dealings has increasingly become more difficult. The man protesteth too much going so far as to use his protest of innocence in the second paragraph of his curtly worded termination letter sent to James Comey:

"May 9, 2017

Dear Director Comey,

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors,

Donald J. Trump"

President Trump has let his paranoid insecurity show to the world in a historically important action. James Comey is only the second FBI Director to ever be fired.  While the actual Watergate events did not involve firing FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Richard Nixon's well documented paranoia took over during the Watergate investigation. The three times that Trump's letter states his thanks to Comey for letting him know that he's not under investigation is as close as you can come to Nixon's now infamous words that preceded his downfall.

On November 18, 1973 President Nixon held a news conferenc edefending his record in the Watergate case and stating he had never profited from his years in public service. Reading the entire reporting of that event by the Washington Post now becomes slightly eerie.  Nixon resigned from office on August 8th, 1974. Here are quotes from the article and a link to the story

“I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life I have never obstructed justice,” Mr. Nixon said.
“People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”
Summing up, he declared that the White House tape recordings would prove that he had no prior knowledge of the Watergate break-in, that he never offered executive clemency for the Watergate burglars, and in fact turned it down when it was suggested, and had no knowledge until March 21, 1973, of proposals that blackmail money be paid a convicted Watergate conspirator."

No longer is anything beyond comprehension when it comes to Donald Trump. But his judgement is becoming clouded. The morning after firing former FBI Director Comey, he began his day meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, who has been a focal point in our Russian investigation.  And if that wasn't enough mingling with the wrong people at the wrong time, the President held a White House meeting shortly after with Richard Nixon's former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. All within a matter of hours.

The photo op of President Trump sitting next to Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office with investigations swirling around around yet another White House feeds the worst fears of a presidency in danger. 



A Unique Anniversary of Gender Equality by marilyn salenger

Religions have not always been known for equal opportunity practices. They remain the focus of an evolutionary process of defining the growing roles for women in each faith. As a Jewish woman born to parents who believed that girls should have the same opportunities as boys long before it was fashionable, today is an important marker in my personal and spiritual life that creates unique historic perspective. Sixty years ago on May 3, 1957, I became one of the early girls in the country to have a Bas Mitzvah.

It was the first Bas Mitzvah in our small Jewish community in northern Indiana. Don't get carried away thinking it was about the party. In fact there really wasn't one, but instead a very special small reception with four generations of our family surrounded by friends in the downstairs hall of our synagogue. I vivdly recall my cake being like something I had never seen. A beautiful opened Bible. The entire event was considered almost radical at the time with my parents forging brave new terriority as a young couple. I remember them asking me how I felt about having a Bas (spelling eventually changed to Bat) Mitzvah and obviously saying "Yes, I'll study". They then set about having to convince the Rabbi, my father's father who was a founding member of the B'Nai Israel synagogue, the Board (all men), and the Board of Education over which my father presided. My mother pulled in her own clout as head of the synagogue women's organization.

My mother and father were quite a team. They worked hard to assure the traditionalists that tradition would be upheld which meant that it wouldn't be like a traditional boy's Bar Mitzvah that was held on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and I wouldn't read from the sacred Torah in Hebrew as only the men in those years could do. They carefully crafted a scenario that allowed me to have a Bas Mitzvah at the age of 13 to be held on Friday night (the beginning of the Sabbath), read a separate portion of Hebrew scripture, lead some responsive reading and give a speech addressing the entire congregation. For a young girl to be allowed to stand on the Pulpit and lead and participate with such responsibility was indeed standing where no young girl in my hometown had stood before and where few across the country were standing. I was simply very nervous.  

Marking the right of passage into Jewish adulthood had long been a ceremony reserved only for boys. A Bar Mitvazh culminated a period of study after which a 13 year old boy came to the Synagogue and fully participated in the service. He then officially would be counted as part of the adult community and considered a man. Girls received no such community recognition and for many years were segregated into the women's gallery where they could listen and pray, separate from the men. The tradition of a Bar Mitzvah has come down through the ages. Until the 'ages' caught up with tradition.

On this day so many years ago I officially became a woman in the eyes of my religion just like the boys who took on their role. They may have gotten to wear their first suits, but I got to shop for a new dress with my mom. It was appropriately conservative and very pretty. The really big deal was the service.

My parents were smart. They made religion fun for my brother and I as well as an important part of our lives. They led by example fighting for what they believed in, and knowing that equality for everybody is an important part of life. Today I treasure it all as part of my living heritage.  

Have an extra glass of wine tonight and think of me.




The Old Boy's Club: Bill, Roger and Donald by marilyn salenger

Yes, I have met Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes and Donald Trump. It was part of my life as a television newswoman in New York City in the '70's and '80's. The three men appear to have changed little since those days except for their increased amounts of power in business and enormous amounts of money earned. Today they are reunited in that special club of men who have been accused of sexually harassing women in their workplaces.

The media business has been a place of rampant sexual harassment for an embarrassing amount of time. And it's not the men who have most been embarrassed, but the women left to deal with the consequences. The choice for any woman has been to either keep it to yourself or speak up and risk losing your job and reputation. I should know. I was a victim of sexual harassment while in television news.

The business of media is not alone in quietly fostering questionable environments for women. It's gotten only slightly better over time while other sectors of business, large and small, too often unofficially allow employees to sexually harass and victimize women. There is no other way to describe how a woman feels when men turn to sexual propositions or innuendo, lewd behavior or the subtlety of inappropriate words and actions. We can research the numbers of actual cases that have been filed by women. According to the EEOC, 15,000 sexual harassment cases are brought to them each year. What we can't research are the numbers of women who didn't file cases and either continued to work as best as they could in toxic situations or quit their jobs.

The old boys club did not go out of existence with the "Madmen" era. It's carried over to the three high profile men who came of age during that time and were recently found to allegedly have sexually harassed women. The first to go down as a result of his apparent behavior was the former head of Fox News and long time Republican consultant, Roger Ailes.  Alies is 76 years old.  Next to be outed for his outrageous behavior boasting about assulting women on an Access Hollywood tape is Donald Trump. Months later he was elected President of the United States. Trump is 70 years old.  Now it's Bill O'Reilly's turn to have his behavior toward women exposed for what it allegedly is. Disgusting.  O'Reilly is 67 years old.  All three men are friends. Trump hired Ailes as a campaign advisor after Ailes was fired by Fox. Trump publicaly came to O'Reilly's defense in an Oval Office interview with the New York Times describing O'Reilly as “a good person” adding, “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,”

That's how the old boys club operates.  Defend. Distract. Hire.

Millions of dollars have been paid to women who settled their cases with Fox News. $13 million was paid to women who accused O'Reilly of harassment. $20 million was paid to Gretchen Carlson formerly of Fox News. The man who harassed Carlson, her former boss Roger Ailes, received twice that amount. Fox paid Ailes $40 million as part of his 'exit' package when he was fired. And yes, millions more will be paid to Bill O'Reilly as part of his farewell financial reward. As for the third amigo, we'll probably never know how many claims President Donald Trump has quietly settled. It's absolutely worth quoting part of Donald Trump's 2005 recorded conversation with Access Hollywood's Billy Bush describing his actions with women:

“Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” he said, as well as “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything”

Money and power can buy a great deal. But not everything.

Thousands of women in every workplace where harrassment is allowed to thrive receive no payment at all for grievances reported or kept private. It's a national outrage and tragedy that has been allowed to continue for too long. To women today I say ... Speak out. Speak up. Loudly.




Trump's Media Bashing As A Ploy by marilyn salenger

        Marilyn Salenger private collection

        Marilyn Salenger private collection

There are many ways battles are fought in Washington, D.C., but the contentious beginning of the Trump presidency has created a strong platform for continued attacks on the news media. President Trump's complex relationship with them has become inseparable from the news of the day. 

Trump has always been a man who loved the media spotlight while being conflicted about the role it played in his life. He often courted the New York City media going so far as to plant news stories about his personal or professional life when it suited him, and the media played along when it suited them.  A rather cozy affair until it wasn't. Those days are now over.

The White House is a stage not easily played, and freedom of the press is an amendment not taken lightly in Washington, D.C. A substantial group of journalists take their jobs quite seriously. A reporter is charged with being the eyes and ears of our country working to ask questions that produce answers the public has a right to know. I say this humbly having spent many years in that role feeling its enormous responsibility. Politicians may not always like the press, but most understand they have a job to do.

President Trump views that job at a target to be used without discretion whenever it works to his advantage. Media bashing is part of his play of the day. What began on the campaign trail as a way to rev up his troops has translated to a declaration of war on the media from the White House. His overt and very public disdain for journalists reached a peak when he called them "the enemy of the people", a statement generally reserved for tyrants. Trump's rants against reporters assigned to cover his presidency strategically use words designed to plant seeds of distrust. It's a sad and rather pathetic maneuver if it wasn't so dangerous.

Distractions of global conflicts cannot take away from Trump's continued ploy. While investigations into ethics violations and associations with Russia continue to mount, Trump remains committed to distraction and making headlines via Twitter. At a news conference last month with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump talked about how he can use Twitter to his advantage saying, "I can get around the media when they don't tell the truth. I like that".    

Secretly I believe the man loves the news media. It's created a big problem for him as well as the rest of us because Trump can't stand criticism or anybody looking into his business. The issue is not fake news.

The "truth" according to Trump is, however, not always the truth. He's no longer operating behind the closed doors of Trump Tower, but in our very public house. And we're not as dumb as some may think us to be. Going to war against the very entity charged with reporting on the President's activities seems to be showing signs of backfiring. According to a newly released report by Pew Research Center, Americans are saying that tensions between Trump and the news media are hindering their access to political news. It's apparently not making us happy or feeling reassured, and these views cross almost every demographic group. The report further states:

Large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans feel the relationship between Trump and the news media is unhealthy and that the ongoing tensions are impeding Americans’ access to important political news. 88% of Democrats say the relationship is unhealthy, as do 78% of Republicans.           

If nobody else in Washington is crossing party lines, it's not unimportant to know the public is, at least for now, taking the lead. That's the most reassuring news I've heard in awhile.

Our System Is Rising Up To Challenge Trump by marilyn salenger

Amidst the chaos Trump's presidency continues to create, one thing appears to be coming out the winner - the checks and balances set up by our democracy. As much as Donald Trump is trying to rule by dictate, the push back has begun.

The Republican party successfully deepened its own party divisions by bungling their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. What became their battle cry has been defeated. The Freedom Caucus, the same hard line conservative group that pushed John Boehner out of the picture. once again made their voices loudly heard going up against both Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and President Trump. They remained unsatisfied with the proposed healthcare bill wanting more drastic cuts including an end to what is called "essential health benefits". Trump threw down the gauntlet and Republicans threw it back. Obamacare remains the healthcare law of the land. Our President has learned that using "Repeal and Replace" as a campaign slogan is a lot easier that turning it into reality.

We are seeing glimpses of a two party system at work again despite Republican control of the House and Senate. While fractious debate does not always lead to victory nor is it always the right course, Democrats appear determined to challenge the Trump nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.

President Trump's ban restricting travel from Muslim countries has twice been struck down by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland. Despite a federal judge in Virginia recently backing the travel ban, the previous injunctions are said to remain unaltered. Trump found his use of executive orders was not above the check and balance of our judicial branch of government.

Russia and Trump continue to be made up front and personal despite Republican attempts to counter it. FBI Director James Comey has confirmed the FBI is investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The House and the Senate Intelligence Committees are conducting their own investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 election let alone potential collusion. With the House Committee becoming increasingly politicized on the issue, the push for an independant investigation has become even stronger.

President Donald Trump is watching his poll numbers drop to their lowest point, hitting a 37% approval rating. The same poll showed that 60% of Americans believe the President is dishonest. For a man who has a devoted love of poll numbers and ratings, a wake up call should replace his early morning Tweets. 






Trump Failing At Leadership by marilyn salenger

                                                                                                           Photo by Gage Skidmore

                                                                                                           Photo by Gage Skidmore

We elected him.  We're now paying for that action.  In a matter of weeks President Donald Trump is working hard to succeed at the one thing our enemies crave and our friends fear. Destabilization.

We have become a nation filled with too much fear and not enough hope. In Donald Trump we have a leader who appears almost incapable of showing the leadership we need at home and abroad, and sees not the error of his ways. Our global allies share in amazement as they try to shore themselves up in preparation for what the next day may bring. After President Trump's repeated and very public swipes at France and their security issues, President François Hollande diplomatically said, ‘‘I think that it is never good to show the smallest defiance toward an allied country". There is little diplomatic about Donald Trump.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in Washington on March 14 for a meeting with the President. Trump wasted no time repeatedly challenging our relationship with Germany, while advisors to the Chancellor have reportedly "given up hope that the President Trump will act in a statesmanlike manner".

A President's cabinet and close advisors should represent an administration's strength. We have yet to see such strength emanating from a White House that apparently thrives more on chaos than anything else. During the first weeks of the Trump administration National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned or was dismissed from his position. Flynn's departure was not a sign of Trump's leadership. Instead it was President Trump succumbing to pressure. He apparently had no problem with Flynn's ties to Russia while questions about Russia continue to mount. 

On March 9th Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly recused himself from investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign after admitting to conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Those investigations would include looking at any Russian interference in our electoral process. Sessions, an early and vocal Trump campaign surrogate, was pressured by Congress to either resign or recuse. The President took no leadership of the situation.  He performed in a reactive mode reportedly becoming furious that Sessions would dare take such action. 

Many had pinned their hopes for strong leadership on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but Tillerson has quickly assumed the lowest profile of any Secretary of State in recent history. He was denied his choice of Deputy Secretary of State by the Trump White House and is still without one. Dozens of assistant secretary positions remain unfilled. Tillerson is operating without a full house of critical staff support while President Trump is calling for severe cuts to the State Department budget. Jared Kushner appears to have more of the President's ear on foreign policy than the Secretary of State.  No wonder Tillerson has gone into hiding.  

Donald Trump took no interest in learning the business of governing during his long run to the election.  He arrogantly turned down intelligence briefings once elected, spending more time focusing on the parade of people he brought to Trump Tower. Today his worlds and actions continue to show too limited a knowledge base for a man normally viewed as the leader of the free world. 

Our country is crying out for real leadership. Instead we see a President floundering under pressure. We see a man lashing out, blaming everyone and everything but himself as he becomes more mired in disfunction. A true sign of a leader is a person who rises to the occasion of challenge. President Trump appears to be sinking.














Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Women, Immigration and the Nominee by marilyn salenger

                          Washington, D.C.

                          Washington, D.C.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been called frail, old, and too old for her job on the Supreme Court.  Don't tell her that. "Im feeling fine" she said crediting her trainer during a Feburary 23 appearance at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  "I'll do this job as long as I can do it at full speed." At 83 her voice is soft, her words are strong.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a judicical pioneer in her own right serving as the second female Justice on our nation's highest court.  She's been a strong legal advocate throughout her career for the fair treatment of women.  Now flanked on the bench by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan she told her audience, "Three women on the court makes a great difference. We're one third of the Court and it looks like we're there to stay.  Now school children can visit the court and say this is something I can aspire."

In the world of formality that the Supreme Court of the United States inhabits, Justice Ginsburg's university stage provided a more casual setting for some serious words that were frequently intertwined with personal anecdotes.

Ginsburg made no direct mention of Donald Trump or his immigration policies, but made clear how she feels. "We are not as mindful of what makes America great. One example is the right to speak one’s mind" and the "idea of our nation being receptive to all, welcoming all people." She added, "The notion that in our nation we are many and yet we are one". 

Justice Ginsburg spoke warmly of her own heritage as a direct example. “I am the beneficiary myself of my father being able to leave the Old World where the conditions were not good, to come here and make a living and raise a family,” Ginsburg said. “That is America to me.”

With President Trump's exective order banning travel from seven Muslim countries now temporarily stopped by a federal court order, the role of the courts on immigration has just begun. Justice Ginsburg potentially provided an important clue should the case reach the Supreme Court.

As for the President's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, she was once again surprisingly candid saying, "I've worked with him and I think he's very easy to get along with." She then paused before adding, "He writes very well." Justice Ginsburg's voice trailed off, and it was clear that the sentence was ended at that point very purposely.