Friday, September 25, 2020

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 Remembering the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in photos.

Sen. Graham’s challenge: Fill a court seat and save his own AP

Trump bragged to Bob Woodward that he had broken ‘every record’ on appointing judges and only George Washington had appointed more Daily Mail

THE OLD-FASHIONED Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “She could fight with the best of them—but I never heard or saw or even intimated anything other than respect and even, often, affection for her adversaries in these battles. No snide remarks, no nasty innuendoes, none of that. She valued civility and collegiality very, very highly.”

A Man in Love with the Sound of Words'

Only after her death on Friday did I learn that Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been a student of Vladimir Nabokov as an undergraduate government major at Cornell from 1950 to 1954. Ginsburg credited Nabokovand a professor at Columbia Law School with her career-long “caring about writing.” She told an interviewer: 

“[Nabokov] was a man in love with the sound of words. He taught me the importance of choosing the right word and presenting it in the right word order. He changed the way I read, the way I write. He was an enormous influence.”


In 1948, Nabokov was hired as an associate professor of Slavic literature at Cornell. He taught Literature 311-312, “Masters of European Fiction,” and Literature 325-326, “Russian Literature in Translation.” Ginsburg would have been enrolled in the former.  Nabokov’s Cornell Lectures on Literature (ed. Fredson Bowers) was published in 1980, three years after his death. The novels Nabokov required his students to read, including Mansfield ParkDead Souls and Ulysses, have attained the status of a sub-canon within the canon.     


What’s surprising is that Ginsburg credits Nabokov with teaching her to be a more exacting writer, which is not the subject he was formally teaching. In his introductory chapter to Lectures on Literature, “Good Readers and Good Writers,” he writes:


“There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three – storyteller, teacher, enchanter – but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer.”


Perhaps Ginsburg thought of Nabokov as a writer-teacher. His grading of student papers was notably tough. Perhaps the future justice learned something about writing from reading his books, which for some of us are a master class in prose. In 1953 alone, along with teaching fulltime, Nabokov had five writing projects under way. Lolita was nearly finished. He was outlining Pnin, translating from Russian into English The Song of Igor’s Campaign and Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, and from English into Russian Conclusive Evidence, the memoir he revised and retitled Speak, Memory.


The interviewer asks Ginsburg, “Did you stay in touch with him after you left Cornell?,” and she replies: “Not after he wrote Lolita, a huge success, and went off to Switzerland to catch butterflies.”

Justice Ginsburg’s Death And The Future Of The Supreme Court American Conservative

From elation to apprehension: The right wrangles over a Court litmus test Politico

McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight The Hill

Socialists Have Long Fought to Disempower the Supreme Court. That’s More Urgent Than Ever Now. Jacobin

David Sirota: Democrats Have Power To Play Hardball, Too David Sirota

Biden warns that a quick replacement of Ginsburg would “plunge us deeper into the abyss” WaPo

RBG’s Death Could Change Intellectual Property Law

“On Oct. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court holds an oral argument in Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., the most important copyright case in decades. It’ll now happen without the high court’s most fervently pro-copyright voice.” – The Hollywood Reporter

  • ‘Notorious’ Doesn’t Begin to Describe Her
    'Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to the Supreme Court not just as another federal judge. She reflected women's emergence as fully equal members of American society in the late 20th century.' — Jess Bravin, Supreme Court Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal... Read more
    Source: Straight|Up Published on: 2020-09-19

    Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lying in repose on the portico of the US Supreme Court building

    That’s the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lying in repose on the portico of The Supreme Court Building. From the Washington Post (link is mine):

    Her casket was placed on the Lincoln catafalque, built for President Abraham Lincoln’s casket in 1865, and surrounded by an arrangement of the justice’s favorite flowers, including white hydrangea, freesia and white tea roses.

    Members of the public can pay their respects until 10pm today and from 9am-10pm tomorrow. On Friday, her casket will be moved to the US Capitol, where she will become the first ever woman to lie in state there.