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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the perks of spending my winter on Sanibel Island is to partake of the “Forum” at BIG ARTS .  Many interesting speakers on a variety of topics give a thirty-five minute lecture and take questions from an audience that can seat no more than 415 people.  The hottest ticket this past winter was for the Justice Ginsburg’s lecture.  When Mr. Brown down the street was unable to attend and gave me his ticket, I jumped at the chance to hear my second speech from a sitting Supreme Court Justice.  Ten years ago I was a guest at a luncheon where Justice Scalia spoke.

Justice Ginsburg spoke about writing descenting opinions and took several questions from the audience.  Her husband cooks for her every night, her greatest treat is an opera, she thinks Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times has a brillant command and talent for interpeting what goes on at the Court, the Court receives between seven and nine thousand petitions per year–some of which are handwritten from prisioners, and she socializes with Justice Scalia.  

At the end of the lecture Justice Ginsburg went into the reception hall to meet and greet.  (She donned a pair of beige gloves for the handshaking.)  I went in to the reception hall to meet the folks I had come with looking for my ride home.  It was Justice Ginsburg, her Secret Service contingent and me. 

Without the need for a handshake and without a question, I told Justice Ginsburg that I was at Saratoga Racecourse the same day several years ago that she was a guest of the president of Skidmore College.  She sat in a box on the finish line and I sat in a box many rows behind her.  I told her that each time the people behind her either exited their boxes or returned to their boxes, they were interviewed by her Secret Service contingent.  With just two minutes to posttime for the seventh race, a Damon Runyon type jumped out of his box to run to the betting windows.  The Secret Service jumped on him.  Eager to get his wager down, he loudly exclaimed  to Justice Ginsburg’s bodyguards, “I’m here to play the horses.  What is she here for?  She hasn’t moved all day!”

By then a line had formed behind me.  Justice Ginsburg looked up and welcomed the next person.