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.