While we’re waiting for the Q&A portion of the Sotomayor confirmation process and tap dance extravaganza Kabuiki show to commence, I thought some words from a justice I admire would be a nice change of pace and context.

Emily Bazelon recently had an opportunity for a lengthy sit-down with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Her answers were as frank and open as you’d expect, given her demeanor on and off the bench. 

And despite moronic right wing attempts to portray Justice Ginsburg as some eugenics spokesmodel – inaccurately, but what else is new? — Ginsburg’s answers are honest and quite thoughtful.   Which is far more than I can say for many of her critics.

A few excerpts:

On criticism of Sotomayor being gender or race driven:

One is that she’s a woman, another is that she made the remark about Latina women. . . .And I thought it was ridiculous for them to make a big deal out of that. Think of how many times you’ve said something that you didn’t get out quite right, and you would edit your statement if you could. I’m sure she meant no more than what I mean when I say: Yes, women bring a different life experience to the table. All of our differences make the conference better. That I’m a woman, that’s part of it, that I’m Jewish, that’s part of it, that I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I went to summer camp in the Adirondacks, all these things are part of me. . . .

On the ludicrosity of criticism that Sotomayor is "aggressive" in her bench demeanor:

. . .the notion that Sonia is an aggressive questioner — what else is new? Has anybody watched Scalia or Breyer up on the bench?

And I absolutely loved this. Some thoughts on feminism and power centers:

I always thought that there was nothing an antifeminist would want more than to have women only in women’s organizations, in their own little corner empathizing with each other and not touching a man’s world. If you’re going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.

Damn straight.

If you think there isn’t some of that in trying to keep "those people" like Sotomayor outside that SCOTUS power center doorstep, then you aren’t paying attention to the identities and agendas of some of the people trying to slam the door in her face.

Do take the time to read the entire interview with Justice Ginsburg. There are some laugh out loud answers in there — its worth it just for the anecdote about losing her shoe whilst on the bench. Priceless.

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

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