Mourning Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Worrying

To the Editor:

Re “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87” (nytimes.com, Sept. 18):

My heart goes out to the family of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She will be remembered as a fierce and eloquent guardian of our Constitution and a giant in the law.

However, my heart also goes out to the American people, who will have their faith in our nation’s democratic institutions tested as perhaps never before. The same Republican-controlled Senate that cited the then upcoming 2016 presidential election as a pretext to refuse to hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, will no doubt rush to confirm a nominee by President Trump notwithstanding the approaching 2020 election.

The blatant hypocrisy of such a move will taint both institutions for years to come.

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco
The writer is a lawyer.

To the Editor:

My first reaction, like that of countless others, was sadness at the loss of a great justice. I was also troubled that the court may soon be packed with three Trump appointees — appointees who will be more likely to bend to President Trump’s will in the increasingly likely event of a contested election.

But my next reaction was that Justice Ginsburg herself disserved the very interests she fought for. After the 2014 midterm election, it became clear that Democrats would no longer control the Senate. Many of us thought Justice Ginsburg should have resigned and allowed President Barack Obama and a lame-duck Senate to install a young, progressive appointee. Justice Ginsburg was already in her 80s at the time and had been treated for pancreatic cancer.

Her deciding to stay on was an act of, I believe, ego — for which the nation will now hisse severely.

Greg Schwed
New York
The writer is a lawyer.

To the Editor:

I am so saddened at the passing of one of the greatest women in history. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave the world many gifts. But years ago, she gave me a personal gift.

In 1972, I had completed my first year at Howard University School of Law. However, my husband’s work required that we relocate to Boston. So I needed to transfer to a law school in that area. One evening, I went to hear Ms. Ginsburg, then a famous feminist lawyer, speak at Rutgers University School of Law.

Afterward, I went up to talk with her about my transfer. She warned me that it was extremely difficult, particularly for the very few women in law schools, to transfer. She explained that most law school transfers were for military members and veterans — practically all men. However, she offered (I did not ask) to write a letter of recommendation for me. What generosity, what incredible magnanimity, for someone she just met.

I was allowed to transfer to Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. Years later I wrote her a heartfelt thank-you, reminding her of what she had done for me, and she responded with characteristic grace and humanity.

She will live forever in my heart for her amazing work, but also for her personal grace and love.

Karen Porter
San Marcos, Texas

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