Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s True Legacy- In Her Own Words
by KrisAnne Hall, JD
Some ask can we identify a singular point that can cause the destruction of America. Looking toward U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may give part of the answer to this question.
Al Hayat TV in Egypt interviewed Justice Ginsburg asking her for the advice she would give Egypt in writing the Constitution for their newly formed government. Her reply to this question gives insight into this her thoughts and understanding of the very Constitution she has given an oath to support and defend.
“I can’t speak as to what the Egyptian experience should be” she said, “because I am operating under a rather old Constitution, the United States in comparison to Egypt is a very new nation, yet we have the oldest Constitution still in force in the world…”
Immediately, Ginsburg denies the value of our Constitution because it is the “oldest Constitution”. She is completely ignoring the fact that it is the oldest Constitution because the very foundation and principles it espouses are timeless. Our founders, although wise and possibly geniuses, were not making up things as they went along, they built a nation upon 700 years of experience with human nature, tyranny, and Liberty in mind. Our Constitution is not over 200 years old, but in reality, its principles and practices are over 1,000 years old. And it IS its age that gives it its credibility. It IS the tried and tested principles and practices that make America the shining city on a hill and the envy of the world.
But Mrs. Ginsburg’s criticism of our Constitution doesn’t end there. When asked by the reporter if Egypt should look to the US Constitution as an example to form their own, her response is shocking.
“You should be aided by all the constitutional writings that have gone on since the end of World War II, I would not look to the US Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.”
Yes, you heard right, she is telling Egypt to disregard our Constitution when drafting theirs. She offers up, rather, the Constitutions of South Africa and Canada. She even strongly suggests the European Union’s Human Rights statement as a BETTER example of Constitutions.
“I might look at the Constitution of South Africa, that was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights; [they have] an independent judiciary, it really is, I think a great piece of work that was done, much more recently than the United States Constitution. Canada has a charter of rights and freedoms that dates from 1982. You would most certainly look at the European convention on human rights…”
Can we glean from these statements that Mrs. Ginsburg does not believe OUR Constitution was a “deliberate attempt to embrace basic human rights”? I am really beginning to wonder what Mrs. Ginsburg actually KNOWS about our Constitution. After all, how is a nation founded upon the principles that “All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” not deliberately attempting to embrace basic human rights? Maybe she missed Sam Adams’ explanation of the rights of the colonists when he said they were “First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.” I guess in Mrs. Ginsburg’s books, those are not principles of basic human rights. In this interview, Mrs. Ginsburg says she is “a very strong believer in learning and listening to others”, unfortunately she never took the time to learn and listen to the men and women who founded this nation.
Mrs. Ginsburg does acknowledge the wisdom of our founders but points out the absence of women at the Constitutional Convention:
“…we were just tremendously fortunate in the US that men who met in Philadelphia were very wise, it is true they were lacking one thing, that is there were no women as part of the Constitutional Conventions, but there were women around, who sparked the idea…”
It is interesting that even if it is just in passing, Mrs. Ginsburg does acknowledge that women were involved in the foundational “ideas” of this nation. Yet she does a great disservice to the women of that era by completely ignoring the magnitude of their input; as politicians, soldiers, patriots, business owners, and political advisors. Her perpetration of revisionist history even becomes part of her advice to the country of Egypt.
“John Adams who was one of our first presidents, and instrumental in the Constitutional Congress, his wife Abigail was very well known, intelligent, said “Now John when you write that Constitution, please remember the ladies.” And he wrote back something amusing, he said, “are you suggesting that women should be part of the political community, look if we do that everyone will be claiming the right to vote, 12 year old boys will be claiming the right”, he treated like a joke…”
The internet is an amazing thing. It was not difficult to find the letters between Abigail and John that she references and John Adams said NOTHING like what Mrs. Ginsburg claims. Most historians not in the business of rewriting history are quick to acknowledge that John Adams held his wife in very high regard and often relied on her wisdom. Additionally, most of our founders felt the same way about the strong women in their lives. To suggest as Mrs. Ginsburg does, that the men excluded women from this process because they were tyrants and oppressive husbands, is as ridiculous as her rendition of the letters she quotes. Since Mrs. Ginsburg seems to be interested in investigating the writings of the founders, perhaps she could take some time to read Mercy Otis Warren, Hannah Winthrop, Penelope Barker, or Phyllis Wheatly, just to name a few. It was Hannah Winthrop, who in one statement, completely destroys Ginsburg’s premise of a politically absent womankind in America.
“And be it known unto Britain, even American daughters are Politicians & Patriots and will aid the good work with their Female Efforts.” Hannah Winthrop to Mercy Otis Warren, Jan 1774
Liberty, as John Adams describes in his letter to Abigail is contagious. Our founders knew that with patience and proper focus on Liberty, in time, all would enjoy as much or as little Liberty as they wished to obtain. This is a valuable point Mrs. Ginsburg would do well to point out to a newly forming nation.
The truly puzzling thing is that she admits that our founders were “wise” and calls them “genius” and even admits that women had a role in sparking the “idea” of Liberty. But she then immediately perpetuates the liberal lie that our founders were not interested in women’s rights and wanted slavery to remain a guiding principle in this nation. May I remind Mrs. Ginsburg that the Declaration of Independence states “ALL” men are created equal. Not all men of a particular race, color or creed, or not even just all AMERICANS, but all men. In my dictionary “all” means “all”. In “listening and learning” from our founders they made it clear that slavery was something that must be abolished. It is precisely why they set a “sunset” for the institution of slavery. Maybe Mrs. Ginsburg doesn’t understand that provision since our current government doesn’t respect “sunset” provisions and simply votes to perpetuate them. Perhaps Mrs. Ginsburg was absent the day they taught that it was the Supreme Court who declared “men” to be “property” and not the Constitution.
To our founders, who were focused on Liberty, creating a union of states was the most important aspect to ensuring that Liberty would prosper. They knew they could not plow new fields overnight and if they tried to change the world in one move, the union would never have a chance, and Liberty would not have its way in all the states. They understood the fundamental aspect of Liberty, that if the focus of a society is on Liberty, that Liberty will be contagious. People who observe others enjoying Liberty will always want to enjoy it for themselves. Our government was established as a Republic so once that desire for Liberty began to spread, a minority group could have a society-changing voice. Our founders deliberately did not establish a democracy, because in that form of government, the majority would always choke to death the desire for Liberty of a minority. Yet another point that Mrs. Ginsburg might be wise to share with Egypt instead of encouraging them to strive “to achieve a general democracy…”
The dichotomy of her praise and criticism of our founders and our Constitution shows that she is greatly misinformed of both. The fact that she would lift up the European Union’s Human Rights statement should greatly concern us. But the finality of her statement to a newly forming nation, that they should NOT look to the wisdom of our founders and use our Constitution as a guide gives us the greatest insight into what she believes about the founding of our nation and the supreme law of the land.
I have begun to understand that those in our government repeatedly take oaths that they do not understand do not actually believe. Taking an oath and not understanding what that oath means, is the equivalent of taking no oath at all. Mrs. Ginsburg is a great example. Here is the oath every Supreme Court Justice takes:
“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
According to an online dictionary the word “support” means to keep from weakening or failing, to strengthen. Synonyms for this word are uphold, back, advocate, champion. According to the same online dictionary the word “defend” means to keep safe from danger, attack, or harm, to ward off an attack. It seems to me, that putting down our Constitution and lifting up others above it is a very strange way to keep it from weakening, to advocate for it, and to ward off attacks against it. This justice, whose entire job depends upon the definition of words, seems to have forgotten the meaning of these vital words. Mrs. Ginsburg might do well to pick up a dictionary and put down her distorted Constitutional law books.
Mrs. Ginsburg did make one statement that was right on. When asked her ideas on how to draft a constitution, her reply should cause every patriot to sit up and take notice.
“A Constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom if the people don’t care, then the best Constitution in the world won’t make any difference, so spirit of liberty must be in the population.”
Bravo, Mrs. Ginsburg, you have the fundamental foundation for being a patriot. Now, put down your law books, put down your revisionist history, set aside your agendas and REALLY “learn and listen” to the men you called genius. Learn WHY they were able to pledge their lives, their fortune, and their sacred honor so ages and millions yet unborn could live in the greatest nation on the planet protected by the greatest human rights statements ever drafted. You may just then begin to understand the pledge you took, and the principles embodied in the document you are supposed to support and defend. You will then be qualified to maintain that seat on the Supreme Court. May I be so bold as to suggest a really great book for you to get started? Not A Living Breathing Document, Reclaiming Our Constitution