Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ‘dissident’ necklace – the one she wore on the days she gave powerful and pointed opinions at odds with the Supreme Court majority – is donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Three other distinctive necklaces, the judicial robe she wore most often during her more than 25 years in the field, and other items are also donated by her family to coincide with the museum’s decision to award Ginsburg its distinctive honor. , the Great Americans Medal.
Ginsburg was proud of the usefulness of well-argued dissent. “Dissent speaks to a future era,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Totenberg in 2002. “It’s not just about saying, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it that way. But the biggest dissents become judicial opinions and gradually, over time, their opinions become the mainstream opinion. It is thus the hope of the dissidents: that they do not write for today but for tomorrow.
The judge’s children, Jane and James Ginsburg, will accept the medal and discuss their mother’s legacy with museum director Anthea M. Hartig at the awards ceremony on Wednesday.
“This generous donation helps us tell in more detail the complex history of the United States and Justice Ginsburg’s connections to pivotal moments in women’s history, especially the struggle for gender equality,” said Hartig said in a statement. “It is an honor to curate these artifacts and stories in the nation’s flagship museum, as they reinforce our belief in using history to improve civic health.”
Other items to donate include a black leather briefcase bearing the judge’s famous initials, RBG; 12 briefs for cases Ginsburg argued as an attorney, four of which she argued before the Supreme Court; the “Justice Ginsburg” nameplate that identified his cart for the court library; and a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 framed with a photograph of President Barack Obama signing the legislation.
(Judge Ginsburg dissented in the 2007 court case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. She disagreed with the court’s majority finding that Lilly Ledbetter waited too long to sue lawsuit for pay discrimination and called on Congress to act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act changed the statute of limitations for workplace discrimination claims.)
There are currently no plans in place for exhibiting the artifacts. They will, however, be broadcast during the programme, then archived and posted online.
The Great Americans Medal presentation will take place virtually at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and the event is open to the public with registration. The recipient is selected by the museum’s management and the medal honors “lifetime contributions embodying American ideas and ideals.”
Other Supreme Court documents in the museum’s collection include the dress worn by Sandra Day O’Connor when she was sworn in as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, the dress worn by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in the Senate. impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton and a robe worn by the first Chief Justice, John Jay.