Schauermann Thayer joins the legal community, the nation, and the world as we mourn the passing of the esteemed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It is impossible to adequately capture in a short statement what Justice Ginsburg meant to the people in her life, and the causes that she championed, particularly the equal treatment of women under the law and in society.
Her professional accomplishments should never be overlooked and they should always be and important piece of your legacy. Her “notorious” reputation in popular culture is well deserved, too. She worked in the law with purpose and discipline. She never overlooked the important details of the cases before her, while patiently minding what each piece meant to her broader vision of a better America through the law.
As praise poured in during the days after her death, I was most struck with the way her colleagues, past and present, spoke about her civility. Even people who should have been her ideological enemies heaped praise on the departed Justice, often painting a picture of friendships that transcended judicial philosophy.
Her famous friendship with recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia is just one example. She and Justice Clarence Thomas have been friends for decades. Their spouses and families grew close, even as their outlook on the law contrasted sharply.
How cruelly ironic it is that her passing comes at a time when our nation could not be more divided in our identities through politics, when she was an exemplar of just the opposite. She lived with strong conviction, pushing the country in a more progressive direction. Simultaneously, she maintained close friendships with brilliant Justices who pushed just as hard in opposition. There is wisdom in her life.
As we celebrate her memory and legacy, we should be mindful not only of the worthy causes she championed. We should also strive to live as she lived. Fight for progress, but be civil in disagreement. Work tirelessly at the task before you, but be mindful of your broader purpose. Above all, never lose sight of the humanity in the people around you.
Rest in power Justice Ginsberg. You paved the way for all women, and inspired generations to take up your torch. Your flame lives on in your absence. You will be missed by this world, but never forgotten.