Nearly 500 students gathered this month for a virtual tribute to honor late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The event was led by Wyoming’s first female supreme court justice and chief justice Marilyn Kite, who is now retired, and Furman pre-law advisor, Maya Russell.
Ginsburg’s death in September at the age of 87 led to a rancorous confirmation battle in the Senate over President Trump’s intention to replace Ginsburg with circuit judge Amy Coney Barrett. On Monday evening, the Senate confirmed Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Discussing several of Ginsburg’s majority opinions and dissents during the Cultural Life Program on Oct. 22, Russell said that the justice did not seek the “notorious” title popularized by her admirers as “the notorious RBG,” but embraced it with a smile and good humor.
Andrew Allen ’21 said he “admired Justice Ginsburg’s frequent willingness to reach across the aisle while drafting her majority, concurring and dissenting opinions.” He said he hopes to emulate her “much-needed bipartisanship in an effort to contribute much-needed collaboration, empathy, and respect to an increasingly polarized legal community.”
The CLP explored Ginsburg’s unique friendship with one of her colleagues on the court.
“I can point to RBG and Justice Antonin Scalia as the perfect example for how two people with very different opinions can in fact be not only civil, but be wonderful friends, whose presence enriches the others’ life and welcomes laughter and improvement in the workplace,” Russell said during the tribute.
Bridget Scalia ’23 said she enjoyed Russell’s depiction of the close friendship that her late grandfather, Scalia, had with Ginsburg – a bond across differences that she hopes to model in her own relationships.
Russell said that she is most hopeful for the future when working with students and celebrates them as they come to embrace their own version of “fabulously notorious.”