U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 185 of her fellow passengers had to quickly leave their airplane yesterday in Washington, D.C. All slid down the jet slide and were safe after the pilot reported dangerous engine problems.
I had the pleasure of traveling to Dallas two weeks ago to hear her speak at Southern Methodist University with my wife and daughter, who is a senior there. Justice Ginsburg, who is 78, has sat on the Court since 1993, and was a justice on the Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit for 13 years before that,
During a question-and-answer format with my law school's dean, Ginsburg touched on subjects ranging from what it was like to be both a mother and a law school student to cases she worked on as an attorney to the toughest part of her job as a justice, which she said was considering death penalty cases.
She noted that the judicial confirmation process has become much more partisan and that she probably never would have made it to the high court under the current climate.
"I wish we could wave a magic wand and go back to the days when the process was bipartisan," Ginsburg said.
She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 96-3.
Ginsburg called joining the court with the first woman ever to take a spot on the bench, Sandra Day O'Connor, "like having a big sister." There are now three female justices on the high court.
Ginsburg said that the first thing she does when she's about to consider a case is look at the opinions of the courts below. "We're on the top of a very fine judicial system," she said.