I take no joy in being a woman who has struggled in college and high school to overcome racism and sexism. But I feel welcome to stand on the stage of University of Louisville’s Sturm College of Law on Thursday as the ladies are newly sworn in as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s first Supreme Court nominees.
I cannot imagine how it feels to come across as only the enemy when you stand on the Senate floor, waving your raised right hand, and accept a public perch.Advertisement
The first one is more successful at doing that, dancing up a storm as Kavanaugh, Trump, and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), are sworn in to the Senate’s third hearing on the nomination. And the second one, the one for every vacancy ever left on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Others have lost their jobs with equal fervor in answering the call to serve the nation’s longest, most elevated bench. The first lady holds out the promise of the nicest woman in the house. The mothers hold out the promise of the most attractive president.
It was different, in the ways that are the most remarkable, to see Judge Sandra Day O’Connor come back to the Supreme Court bench in 2008. After serving since 1993 and all other attempts to close her seat on the bench, and leaving the court to join her husband in the Bush administration, O’Connor ran for reelection and won in 2006, depriving Vice President Dick Cheney, then governor of Wyoming, of a judicial appointment to her seat.
Anyone who watches Judge O’Connor in action or hears her on public speeches will recall that it doesn’t seem like much to her.
She was just an old alma mater woman and a member of the faculty in the federal government when no one recognized her potential to reach higher, yet the public did so with deliberate enthusiasm.Advertisement
Where to begin? One of the most riveting aspects of O’Connor’s confirmation was the belief that she was capable of wearing the shoes of a high court justice without slipping over.
That optimism, seen throughout the years, makes her cameo appearance at this inaugural ceremony one of the clearest examples of why she is a Supreme Court justice at all.
Judge O’Connor was a bright graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale Law School and spent a delightful 35 years as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Yet she was the person most responsible for the whole process of President George W. Bush wanting a person of a different station in life to serve on the Court.
And O’Connor seems a unique case that a man should have been able to achieve and accomplish in full public service.
I have never taken such delight in the existence of another court’s first black woman justice.
Loving justice seems to be a private affair. Though that is a by-product of our society’s rich mix of gender, race, and ethnicity.Advertisement
Our nation’s great advancement in gender equality could be something that is not mentioned very often.