RGB Remembrances

Bar members are invited to submit their remembrances of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

From Leah Broker:

It was a privilege and honor to hear Justice Ginsberg speak and then meet her in 2007 when she visited Asheville.  I remember being amazed by her quiet, yet determined, demeanor and to hear her own story of attending law school, becoming an attorney while being a wife and mother in a time where that was trailblazing.  Thirteen years later I watched the movie “On the Basis of Sex” with my mother and my 13 year old daughter and was thrilled to watch my daughter’s eyes open to this history and to see her cheering on the case featured in the film.  RBG was a one-in-a-million years human being and humanity is better for her having been among us.

From Rendi Mann-Stadt:

I was privileged to attend the event with RBG here in Asheville, but it wasn’t the first time I was able to experience her brilliance in person. While a 3L, my alma mater, the University of Illinois College of Law, undertook an extensive renovation project, creating havoc as we attempted to take class and study. Our consolation prize was that after graduation we were invited to attend a rededication ceremony with Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the keynote speaker.  I attended, and took as my guest my oldest, then 11 year old, daughter. She delighted in the academic pomp and circumstance, especially the miniature top hat Justice Ginsburg wore with her gown– a vestige from when she received an  honorary degree in Sweden. Justice Ginsburg’s words were warm and meaningful and sparked a wonderful conversation between mother and daughter on our long ride home.   Fast forward, and 26 years later, as our family exchanged texts mourning RBG’s passing, the same daughter said “I will always recall the honor of being in her presence.”
I thank RBG for her pioneering work, admire her as of the finest legal minds ever, and appreciate her for teaching my daughters what a determined woman can accomplish.

From District Court Judge Susan Dotson-Smith:

The Communications Committee of the Buncombe Bar asked me to put together a few words to remember Justice Ginsburg, and it is an honor to do so. In 2007, Justice Ginsburg spoke in Asheville at a conference entitled “The Changing Face of justice: A view from the Bench”. The event was hosted by the North Carolina Bar Association and its Women in the Profession Committee and sponsored by many groups including the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.  Before an overflow audience of 500-plus, Justice Ginsburg was interviewed on stage by Suzanne Reynolds, future Dean of the Wake Forest University School of Law. Lawyers and Judges in attendance were inspired by her passion for seeking equality.

Most of us would not choose to be the voice and embodiment of dissent. Justice Ginsburg’s life reminds me that some have walked that journey of being “the dissent.” One of nine women matriculating at Harvard Law School her first year, Justice Ginsburg walked that dissent.  Justice Thurgood Marshall and Justice Ginsburg walked that dissent as they rose to their roles as Supreme Court Justices.  Many other unheralded attorneys walked, and continue to walk, that dissent as they break through barriers to justice for themselves and for their clients.

Organizations around the state recognize the significant legal advances owed to Justice Ginsburg, including breakthroughs in gender equality. I have heard many leaders choose the following as their lasting quote from the Justice: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Justice Ginsburg indeed was a superhero: her strength superhuman, her dedication and work ethic exceptional. Her lasting legal legacy includes the superpower of creating a dissent that can be used persuasively when the majority is ready and when legislators are ready. The power of persuasion, not only in the moment, but with an eye toward the future, requires a blend of courage, wisdom, and foresight.

Our country is not monolithic. Some may disagree with particular opinions of Justice Ginsburg. However, hopefully, all of us can appreciate her commitment to public service, to the legal profession, and to the rule of law.  We owe a great deal of appreciation and respect for this woman who fought for equality and equity.  She demonstrated great patience in waiting for others to catch up.

Attorneys, the State Bar has returned to deliberating on whether or not to include anti-discrimination language in the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys have another opportunity to take a step towards justice for all, as Justice Ginsburg so often did. The next step is ours to take.

From Jackie Grant:

Former NC Bar Association President and Roberts & Stevens shareholder Jackie Grant recalls a surprise invitation to have dinner with Justice Ginsburg at the NC Bar Association’s Women in Profession 2007 celebration. “We had the most lovely time talking through dinner. Justice Ginsburg and her husband, Marty, were so sweet. He was so supportive of her.”

What most impressed Jackie was Justice Ginsburg’s friendship with her ideological opponent, Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Ginsburg famously disagreed with Justice Scalia about politics and interpreting the Constitution, but they bonded over a mutual love of opera. “It was a great testament to how Justice Ginsburg was, and a reminder of how we need to be. You can disagree – they don’t get more polar opposite than those two. That doesn’t make that person an evil person. You may be able to relate to them on other issues,” said Jackie.

Email your thoughts to admin@BuncombeBar.com with the subject line “RGB Remembrances.”