clear
Tuesday September 1st, 2015 10:26PM

Ginsburg: Gay marriage shows Constitution's genius

By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently officiated at a friend's same-sex wedding, told a Philadelphia audience Friday that growing acceptance of gay marriage reflects the "genius" of the U.S. Constitution.

Ginsburg said equality has always been central to the Constitution, even if society has only applied it to minorities - be they women, blacks or gays - over time.

"So I see the genius of our Constitution, and of our society, is how much more embracive we have become than we were at the beginning," Ginsburg said in a far-ranging discussion of her work at the National Constitution Center, steps from the nation's founding at Independence Hall.

Ginsburg, the second woman named to the high court, has now served for 20 years and leads the court's liberal minority.

Her increasingly candid and forceful writing - often as the voice of the dissent in 5-4 cases - has attracted ardent fans, including New York University law school student Shana Knizhnik, who wore a "Notorious R.B.G." t-shirt - a twist on the similarly named Brooklyn rapper.

Knizhnik, 25, of Philadelphia, who designed the shirt and has sold about 2,000 of them, so admired the justice's writings and accomplishments that she started a blog this year devoted to "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in all her glory."

"Her story's so amazing and inspiring," said Knizhnik, who plans a career as a public defender. "The work she continues to do and fight for, despite the rightward direction the court seems to be going in. Especially seeing a woman up there is so great. I would love to have even a fraction of the career she's had."

In recent years, the Supreme Court has repeatedly decided pivotal issues by a single vote, from the Bush v. Gore election to the health care reform act to the June decision to strike down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Ginsburg has often been on the losing side of the epic battles, but said some would have turned out differently had the first female justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, not retired in 2006.

"The year she left us, in every case where I was among the four, if she had remained, I would have been among the five. So her leaving the court made an enormous difference," Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg criticized her majority colleagues for what she called "activist" decisions that overturned laws better understood by Congress, such as the Voting Rights Act, which had been extended by a series of bipartisan presidents, most recently George W. Bush.

"That's an example of striking down legislation on a subject that the people in the political arena are better informed about than the court is," she said.

Ginsburg, 80, gave no hint she would wind down her judicial career anytime soon, noting that the fall docket includes such important issues as campaign finance limits and affirmative action. And, despite her sharp ideological differences with some colleagues, including close friend Antonin Scalia, she said their work environment remains cordial.

"One of the hallmarks of the court is collegiality," Ginsburg said. "You could not do the job that the Constitution gives to us if you didn't, to use one of Justice Scalia's favorite expressions, `Get over it.'"
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
In Alaska wilderness, Obama stares down melting glacier to sound alarm on climate change
SEWARD, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama stared down a melting glacier in Alaska on Tuesday in a dramatic use of his presidential pulpit to sound the alarm on climate change.From a distance, Exit...
9:40PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Thousands without power after monsoon storm hits Phoenix area, damages buildings, cars
PHOENIX (AP) — Thousands of Phoenix-area residents and businesses, including a food bank, remained without power a day after a monsoon storm knocked down trees, damaged buildings and toppled a tractor...
8:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: GOP nominee for governor supports clerk's refusal to issue gay marriage license
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — The latest on a Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her (all times local):6 p.m.Kentucky's Republican nomi...
6:05PM ( 4 hours ago )
US, global stocks fall sharply; Dow down 469 at close
NEW YORK (AP) — Markets are turning turbulent again after investors were unnerved by more signs of weakness in China, the world's second-largest economy.U.S. stocks sank 3 percent Tuesday, their third...
4:40PM ( 5 hours ago )
Clinton, aides stressed need to protect sensitive State Department information in email
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides at the State Department were acutely aware of — and occasionally frustrated by — the need to protect sensitive information when discussing intern...
2:56PM ( 7 hours ago )