Ruth Bader Ginsberg is too old? Perhaps she should consider stepping down from the Supreme Court?
These suggestions were floated more than once in the Q&A session after a recent Commonwealth Club talk by University of California Hastings Professor of Law Scott Dodson. Dodson is the editor of a newly released collection of essays, The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, whose writers suggest nothing of the kind. Contributors to the book, and Dodson himself, focus instead on the significant contributions made thus far by the 82-year-old justice, and the impact she continues to have on jurisprudence and on life in the U.S.
Dodson was drawn to write about Ginsberg because he “kept encountering her clear and consistent opinions” and wanted to create an objective view of her legacy – notably including gender discrimination, as in the case that ended Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admission policy, and racial discrimination, as in the voting rights case Shelby County v Holder. In the latter case, Ginsberg famously wrote that throwing out an anti-discriminatory measure as no longer needed “is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
As New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote several months ago: Ruth Bader Ginsberg has no interest in retiring.
Several days before the Dodson talk, David McCullough, 82, spoke at another San Francisco event in conjunction with his most recent book, The Wright Brothers. McCullough did not go into detail about his next project, but gives every indication that he is a writer with no interest in retiring.
Meanwhile in Texas, Willie Nelson, 82, has another concert coming up, and the next show planned by Carol Burnett, 82, is almost sold out.
This writer may not have anything else in common with Ruth, David, Carol and Willie, but we take what we can get. 1933 wasn’t a bad year to be born.