The problem with leftists gushing over Ruth Bader Ginsburg's collars
Renewed attention is being given to Ruth Bader Ginsberg's unique collars. Ginsburg provided her reasoning for wearing the collars, stating, "The standard [judge] robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie, so ... I thought it would be appropriate if we include as part of our robe something typical of a woman. So I have many, many collars."
Just a few years back, Town and Country Magazine attempted to "decode" her many, many collars. The article discussed her "Not a Fan of Him" collar (shown in this group photo sitting in front of newly appointed Justice Kavanaugh), the "Majority Opinion," the "Dissenting Opinion," the "Favorite," and the "Original" collars.
RBG's collars are now being used as a uniquely identifiable symbols of the left's love of RBG and utter contempt for the GOP and Amy Coney Barrett. Amazon features commemorative earrings, rings, and necklaces designed with her collars. Viral videos are circulating on social media of Harris/Biden-supporters going to vote decked out in RBG apparel. This symbol, along with her "notorious" nickname, are being used to laud the individuality she expressed from the bench.
In contrast, Amy Coney Barrett recently discussed the (correct) role of a justice. She stated that if a judge always decides cases that yield outcomes he personally desires, he is being not a judge, but a policymaker. However, we already have a Legislature and Executive to make and enact the policies. The separation of powers demands that a justice's job is to interpret the law.
In her speech, then-judge Barrett relayed the history of a justice's robes and that history's applicability to her judicial philosophy. Non-descript black robes symbolize the impersonality of the law and the dedication that each judge should have to the rule of law. This was not always so in our Republic. Early justices wore colored robes in the custom of British judges, the colors being from academic institutions from which they graduated. John Marshall, one of the foundational chief justices, instead wore a simple black robe. The rest of the justices followed suit, and now all federal judges wear simple black robes.
Judge Barrett emphasized the importance of this nondescript attire, stating that the focus should not be on the judge, or their feelings, or what law school and prior affiliations the judge has. Instead, a judge's focus must be on what the law requires. Throughout her confirmation hearings, she reiterated the focus on the separation of powers, often stating that "who decides the question" on policy matters, such as redefining marriage, is of utmost importance to a justice.
How do RBG's many, many collars serve the admirable goal of a justice doing what the law requires? They don't. They serve to further distinguish one justice for who he is. RBG likely agrees, at least based on her response to criticisms that she should have retired under Obama when she quipped, "Who [else] would you prefer on the Court?"
Alas, the left does not seem to care too much about what the law requires and would rather have RBG (or some other agreeable policymaker) on the court. "It was RBG's dying wish!" they said. "It's an election year!" they said. "Let the people decide!" they said.
They decided. They decided when they elected President Trump in 2016. Remember, the president is "elected for four years, not three years," said one justice that donned distinguished collars. They decided when they did not flip the Senate after Sen. McConnell held up Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland. The Senate has continued to fulfill its duty to advise and consent (or not) regarding the president's court nominations. The senators do this not because it's what everyone wants them to do; it's what the supreme law of the land requires. Now we have another justice who will also do what the law requires.
John Ourednik is a submarine veteran and currently practices intellectual property law in Chicago, IL.