JUSTICE, JUSTICE SHALT THOU PURSUE by Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Amanda Tyler


A Life’s Work Fighting for a More Perfect Union

by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Amanda Tyler


If you want to know where Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) gets her straight-shooter mentality concerning court cases, you can read her three chosen cases in the new book Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue. If you want to know who inspired her to be the best she could be as a lawyer and human being, you can read about her role models (ex. Justice Brandeis) in this same book, Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue.

Finally, if you want to look at RBG’s life in photos, you can browse through Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue for beautiful color plates and clear black and white photos of RBG, her husband Marty, her children, and the many other photos demonstrating that Justice Ginsburg was a human being who lived with passion and pursued justice until her last breath on September 18, 2020. (The number 18 is a special number in Judaism because it is the numerical counterpart to the word for LIFE in Hebrew [chai, pronounced Khai).

RBG died on Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year, and as quoted in USA Today, here is why her death date is so memorable. NPR reporter Nina Totenberg explained this Jewish tradition on Twitter: “A Jewish teaching says those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed most & were the most righteous.”

Helping RBG put so much effort into this last written piece by Justice Ginsburg is one of her clerks (1999-2000), Amanda L. Tyler. She is a Professor of Law at University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches and writes about the Supreme Court, federal courts, constitutional law, and civil procedure. (Her writing is excellent in this book.) Tyler’s voice is heard throughout the book, but none more poignantly than her Afterword in October 2002, soon after RBG’s death from cancer. As Tyler writes: “It is impossible to put into words how devastating her loss is for those of us who were lucky enough to know her….Justice Ginsburg was a national treasure—someone who through her life and work made ours a better, more just society.”

Tyler notes that on the wall in RBG’s chambers is the passage from Deuteronomy: “Justice, Justice thou shalt pursue,” which became the title of the book:.” As Tyler notes: “This calling drove Justice Ginsburg in all she did.” On my own writing “chamber” above my computer is a photo of RBG in her robe and favorite white collar around her neck with this quote by her:

“Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

She has inspired me to become a more compassionate, concerned human being and I will treasure this book with her life’s work explained in a way that is “contagious.”  She is truly an American hero, avid feminist, conscientious lawyer and loving daughter, wife, mother, and mentor — a legend in her own time. I believe her passion was derived in large part from her own personal and professional issues in finding a job after college (shared first place in her Columbia University class with another student) because she was:

  1. A woman when few women were lawyers.
  2. A Jew in a world that is still anti-Semitic.
  3. A mother, when having a child and being a (new) lawyer was considered an impossible combination.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave her very best years in the pursuit of justice for others, and inspired many to be the best of who they are, no matter their color, creed, or social-economic status. This book is a great addition to anyone’s reading list, to every private and public library, and to every high school and college, not only for lawyers-to-be, but for all students who pursue a career and a life to make this country a more perfect union.

JUSTICE, JUSTICE THOU SHALL PURSUE is published by University of California Press in Oakland, California and costs $26.95. It is a Naomi Schneider book. The authors note that they “share the compassion, commitment, and creativity of Executive Director Naomi Schneider.” And Naomi sent me this comment about her part in the book: “I’m so honored to be associated with a book co-authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Her lifelong battle to secure more equitable gender rights provides a model of indefatigable activism and commitment to social justice that inspires us all.”

P.S. I learned yesterday that today is World Environmental Day,which I will address in a future posting. For now, here is an excerpt from the Internet and a link: (https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/world-environment-day-2021-history-theme-significance-and-quotes-1810123-2021-06-03)

World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to remind people about the importance of nature. It is celebrated across the globe to tell people that nature should not be taken for granted and must be respected for its values.

With the coronavirus outbreak and people being confined indoors, the environment and mother earth seem to have benefitted slightly. In the absence of human activities amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, nature is getting time to clean itself and reclaim its space.

And tomorrow is D-Day, the 6th of June which commemorates one of the biggest battles that won WWII. Last week TCM was showing war movies and I watch one with James Garner called 36 Hours, all about D-Day. Good story and interesting to learn more about this auspicious event.

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