Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I was in Washington for the swearing-in of my brother-in-law as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Georgia. Justice Ginsburg administered the oath of office. During the official ceremony, she gave some stirring remarks on the history of U.S. government oaths and the importance of the rule of law in civilized society. Her eloquence and erudition were remarkable, but unsurprising to anyone who knows her work.
After the official ceremony, a reception followed. A famous Georgian opera singer, a national treasure in that country, treated the gathering to several songs with her incredible voice. After the moving performance, Justice Ginsburg, a known operaphile, said a few words regarding the magnificent talent of the Georgian diva. She shared that if she could have had anything she had wished for as a vocation, it would not have been success in law or academia, but that she would have been a diva. She delivered the line with great earnest, but with the timing of a great comedienne. While her eloquence and erudition at the official ceremony were not a surprise, her charming wit and endearing sense of humor stole the hearts and minds of those at the reception.
Chatting with Justice Ginsburg later that evening, I continued to be impressed with Justice Ginsburg the person – her disarming charm and incredible wit.
As lawyers, we often read the opinions of judges. We have an inkling of their intellect. But, seldom do we get the opportunity to connect with them on a personal level. Justice Ginsburg may not be a diva, but she is a national treasure just the same.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555