Three words come to mind when I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I imagine the first is “calm, but determined,” and the second was “brought rivival” and the third, “grounded, energetic, willful and severe.” It’s difficult not to associate Bader Ginsburg’s career with one of the most unyielding figures on the court.“Ginsburg is used to that,” as columnist Emily Bazelon wrote on the National Review website. “During her entire career she has been fiercely at odds with every administration.” Over the past four years, she warned, “You can’t compare me with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s a different person. I’m not a person. The Court is different.”
In the waning days of her tenure, Bazelon published an extended interview with Ginsburg. She spoke at length about a range of topics, including the importance of engaging the public, immigration, the judicial decision in Roe v. Wade, and the decision in the criminalization of dissent.It wasn’t easy to speak to Ginsburg about these topics in just one day. “I was hysterical,” Bazelon said. “It took me from my little apartment to two soups down to three.” The first night, Ginsburg and Bazelon shared cocktails at a place called Chef’s Arms, a comfort food restaurant in Philadelphia. “She’s not glamorous,” Bazelon said. “She’s boring. But when you speak to her, you do speak to somebody intelligent.” The second night, she and Bazelon headed to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts for a taping of The View. Bazelon was there to write The Women’s March on Washington, and “I think we were six days late,” she said. The producers told Bazelon “to find a way to have her have some breakfast.”
The third day, Bazelon chatted with her at the Town Hall, a restaurant in New York City where Bazelon had worked during her time at the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to long-playing news clips of her famous interactions with the justices, she gave a speech introducing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.