LCA's staff and board members were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justice Ginsburg was a pivotal figure in legal battles for women’s and minority rights both before and after her appointment to the Supreme Court. She was a singular figure on the high court known for her judicial philosophy, the quality of her opinions and her incisive style of questioning at oral argument. She had a public following enjoyed by few other members of the judiciary. A law student dubbed her “R.B.G;” another law student composed an opera about her. Her judicial collar is an internet meme. She is the subject of movies and books as well as a current exhibition about her life at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.
The arts, and especially theater and opera were lifelong passions for Justice Ginsburg. She connected with others through shared love for the arts, and those connections included lifelong friendships with political adversaries – a rarity in Washington. After her husband died, she was regularly seen at local opera performances with other Supreme Court colleagues including those on the other side of the political spectrum. In its tribute to Justice Ginsburg, the New York Times highlighted Ginsburg's love of opera and support for the arts.
Music was a constant in Ginsburg's family life. Her son Jim Ginsburg founded the Chicago classical record label Cedille Records that has launched the careers of Chicago musicians and expanded the audience for Chicago’s classical composers. We are proud this year to have presented our Distinguished Service to the Arts award to Jim Ginsburg and Cedille Records for these contributions to the musical life of our city.
We will remember R.B.G for many things – and not least for the joyful way she embraced the arts as part of a life in the law. We send our deep condolences to Jim and to all of R.B.G.’s family.
Image provided by Ted Eytan under a Creative Commons License