Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Opposition” collar – the collar he wore during the days when the Supreme Court gave strong and pointed opinions that contradicted the majority – Donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Three other distinctive collars, his most frequently worn judicial robe for over 25 years in court, and other items are also donated by his family to coincide with the museum’s decision to give Ginsburg the honor of signing. Great Americans Medal.
Ginsburg was proud of the utility of a well-argued opposition. Ginsburg, “Dissenters appeal to a future age” told NPR’s Nina Totenberg in 2002. “This isn’t just about saying, ‘My colleagues are wrong and that’s how I would have done it’. But the biggest dissenting opinions become court decisions, and over time their views become the dominant one. This is the hope of the opposition: they write for tomorrow, not for today.”
Justice’s children, Jane and James Ginsburg, will accept the medal and will discuss their mother’s legacy with museum director Anthea M. Hartig at Wednesday’s awards show.
“This generous donation helps us more fully understand the complex history of the United States and its connections to Justice Ginsburg’s key moments in women’s history, particularly the fight for gender equality,” Hartig said in a statement. “It is an honor to preserve these objects and histories in the nation’s most important museum, as they strengthen our belief in using history to promote civic health.”
Other items to be donated include a black leather briefcase inscribed with the famous initials of justice RBG; 12 briefings for cases that Ginsburg defended as a lawyer, four of whom argued before the Supreme Court; the “Justice Ginsburg” nameplate identifying his car for the court library; and a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, with a framed photo of President Barack Obama signing the law.
(Judge Ginsburg dissented in the 2007 trial Ledbetter – Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The court did not agree with the majority’s decision that Lilly Ledbetter had waited too long to file a lawsuit for wage discrimination and urged Congress to take action. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act amended the statute of limitations on workplace discrimination claims.)
There are currently no plans to exhibit the works. However, they will be shown during the program and later archived and made available online.
The presentation of the Great Americans Medal will take place virtually at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and the event will be open to the public on: record. The recipient is selected by the museum’s leadership, and the medal honors “lifetime contributions that embody American ideas and ideals.”
Other Supreme Court items in the museum’s collection include the gown that Sandra Day O’Connor wore when she was sworn in as the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court judge, and the gown worn by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist during the Senate. A dress worn by the impeachment case of President Bill Clinton and the first chief justice, John Jay.