(Sept. 18) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a force of nature, a great intellect, a woman of tremendous courage and perseverance, and by all accounts a person of extraordinary personal warmth and decency.

Can we all please pay her tribute in the immediate aftermath of her death while waiting at least 48 hours before making political commitments, promises, threats, or prognostications?

This particularly goes for U.S. senators. Several Republicans, without even letting the dust settle, already have committed themselves to refusing to confirm any new nominee until a new presidential term. Shame on them. Why not take time to honor Ginsburg while allowing arguments about the wisdom of a quick nomination and confirmation to percolate in — and to consider them logically, rather than precipitously spouting off?

The situation is a tiny bit different, but only a tiny bit, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who pledged just the opposite, namely to guarantee a confirmation vote during this session of Congress. As the Senate’s gatekeeper, his role is different, and it makes sense for him quickly to explain his intentions. Still, even McConnell spoke too definitively, without leaving enough psychological and logical space for the body politic to accustom itself to the news of Ginsburg’s death and to consider the proper response to it.

And even the senators’ over-hasty responses are minor transgressions compared to the obscene calls by some on the Left for riots against any move to confirm a replacement for her.

Again, let’s not be too hasty with judgments and political positioning. Let’s ask the Senate again to be a deliberative body, one in which statesmen can emerge.

That said, what should be a conservative’s immediate thoughts on Ginsburg herself? Well, first, there can be no doubt that she was our archnemesis on matters of statutory and constitutional interpretation. We think that her assessment of the law writ large was as wrong as wrong can be. We nonetheless must marvel at the depth of her mind, the force of her will, and the bravery of both her career-long rise in what was a man’s legal world and of her many years of her stupendous perseverance through so many health problems. And all, it appeared, with grace and good spirit….

[The full column is here.]


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