Admiration for Ruth Bader Ginsburg transcends even her role as Supreme Court Justice, her symbolic notoriety and vast life experience leading many on the left to seek out the 83-year-old jurist as a wise, pseudo-religious figure. Maybe it's the robes. And Ginsburg's guru role is in keeping with a new one for her at Stanford University, where as a Rathbun Visiting Fellow under the auspices of the Office of Religious Life, Ginsburg spoke in a visit to campus yesterday. Subjects included her definition of "a meaningful life" which for her is "living not for oneself, but for one’s community.”
In the past year, Ginsburg has been pushed for her opinions on current affairs and figures from Donald Trump to Colin Kaepernick, which she's given and then retracted under political pressure. Now more than ever, with just eight justices on the court following the death of her friend and ideological opposite Antonin Scalia, the right's obstruction of Obama nominee Merrick Garland, and a deeply conservative pick for the court from President Trump in Neil Gorsuch, questions surround the aging jurist.
But at Stanford, Ginsburg spoke mostly of her life lessons and general philosophies. According to Stanford's news website, one piece of advice she doled out "comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day."
"‘In every good marriage,’ she counseled, ‘it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.’ I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade."
At 83, one is forced to wonder just how selective Ginsburg's deafness might now be... but I digress.
The closest the Justice seems to have come to current affairs in her remarks was an allusion to the Electoral College, a system that granted Donald Trump the Presidency although he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by a tally of nearly three million votes. According to the Chronicle, when Ginsburg was asked what things she might change about our political system if she had the power, she responded that “one is the electoral college" to cheers from the audience. That would be very wise.