Seaton: My Encounter With RBG

I just learned of Justice Ginsburg’s passing. It is unquestionably a loss for the legal profession as a whole.

At this time, I am reminded of the day I met she who would later be known as “The Notorious RBG.” It was the day I gained admission to the Supreme Court bar by virtue of the fraternity I joined in law school. The lawyers sponsoring us told us in advance we would meet at least one Justice following our admission, and Justice Ginsburg might come as well.

When Justice Ginsburg entered the room, she commanded everyone’s attention. I’ve never seen such a small person command so much power just being in a place. In a few words she thanked the attending lawyers for their admission to the Supreme Court Bar, said she respected us for wanting to be lawyers, then opened the floor for questions.

Being a fan of the show “Suits,” I asked Justice Ginsburg why she left Harvard after her first year for Columbia Law School. She told the room she felt family was important, and when her husband got a good paying job in New York, she felt the right thing to do was follow her husband in support of his career decisions.

This prompted a young lady, freshly admitted to the Supreme Court Bar, to ask the following question:

“Justice Ginsburg, how is the commute from New York to D.C.?”

Ginsburg cracked a wry smile and responded: “Young lady, I moved when my husband got the better paying job. Who do you think moved when I got this gig?”

Rest in peace, Madam Justice. And for all you did during your term as a Supreme Court Justice, whether I agree or disagree with it, you have my thanks.

4 thoughts on “Seaton: My Encounter With RBG

  1. SHG

    When I was admitted into the Supreme Court bar, it was by mail so I never personally appeared and had the opportunity to stand in the well or meet a justice. I regret having missed that opportunity, and I’m very glad you got to meet RBG.

    1. CLS

      I’ll certainly never forget it or regret the experience. It’s the only time in my life I’ve been in awe of someone arguably a foot shorter than me.

      Justice Sotomayor was the other member of the Nine who greeted our group that day. She was affable and made everyone in the room feel like they were the most important people in the world when she spoke to them.

      But Ginsburg…her sheer presence in a room was an inexplainable force. When she spoke no one dared interrupt or speak over her. You just knew. We lost a true legend yesterday.

      1. SHG

        I knew Justice Sotomayor from her days in NY. I always wondered why she never met a conviction she couldn’t sustain in the 2d Cir., but discovered empathy after she left the City. I never got a chance to ask.

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