As editor of this volume, I find myself in the enviable position of now possessing a wealth of perspectives on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I hope to use that position to offer a very brief synthesis of the insights from these chapters and to pose some concluding reflections.
Ginsburg has always been difficult to quantify, and she herself has eschewed ideological labels. In perhaps the most revealing self-identification of judicial philosophy, Ginsburg once wrote that she strives to emulate “independent-thinking individuals with open, but not drafty, minds, individuals willing to listen and, throughout their days, to learn.”
We should listen to her. The contributors to this book underscore her own assessment. Nina Totenberg emphasizes the importance of Ginsburg’s personal relationships - with her mother, her mother-in-law, her husband, and her colleagues - and the ways she has been touched by everyday life: school, marriage, career, pregnancy, family, friends, cancer, and death. Herma Hill Kay shows Professor Ginsburg’s inl uence on Justice Ginsburg and her success integrating academia, advocacy, and judging. Linda K. Kerber both microscopes and telescopes Reed v. Reed, illustrating how Ginsburg’s advocacy for gender equality in the 1970s affected the specific individuals involved in that case and the larger social movement toward greater women’s rights.