Ruth Bader Ginsburg became an iconic figure on the Supreme Court.

She became a hero to generations of women and men.

Her stands as an attorney then her rulings and dissents as a Supreme Court justice changed laws and minds and the way Americans live and work.

She was not afraid to take people to task but she did it with flair.

Even the stylish collars she wore over her robes became iconic.

Hard to think of another Supreme Court justice who reached pop-culture status as she did, earning the fan nickname “The Notorious RBG.”

Since she passed away Sept. 18 at the age of 87, thousands of articles have been written about her life, her career and status. So many aspects of her life are worthy of comment, reflection, even emulation. But we are focusing on one aspect of her life. A facet we could all learn from.

Her friendship with her fellow Supreme Court justice, the late Antonin Scalia.

Ginsburg was liberal. Scalia was conservative.

Politically, they couldn’t be more different. They disagreed on critical Supreme Court cases. They had widely and wildly different views of the nature of the Constitution and the role of the court.

Yet, even when they disagreed, they respected one another. As Ginsburg once said even though she disagreed with Scalia’s opinions, “he said it in an absolutely captivating way.”

And as Scalia once said of Ginsburg: “What’s not to like? Except her views on the law.”

They built more than just a respectful work relationship. They built a friendship on the loves they shared: food, opera, travel and — even though they disagreed on the subject — they still both loved the law.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, idolized by the left, and Antonin Scalia, lionized by the right, were good friends. They could laugh together. They could joke with one another. They ate meals together. Their families traveled and vacationed together.

All of this while sharply disagreeing with one another on political issues.

Scroll through your Facebook feed and survey the language of damaged relationships. Former friends calling one another vile things because they disagree on politics. Family members estranged because of politics. In joining our various political tribes, we often forget what forged some of our friendships — shared interests, common experiences, many of the same beliefs though seen through the prisms of differing lenses.

We often adhere so closely to the ideology of our politics that we discount everything else.

For example: If you don’t like the president, well, you must not like me. If you like the president, well, you must not like me. This one example simplifies the divide but it exemplifies how easily we toss aside mutual interests because of political differences.

Again, there are many lessons to be learned from the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg but her friendship with Antonin Scalia isn’t just a lesson that can change one’s life personally.

The lesson has the potential to start healing the wounds of our deeply divided society.


Valdosta, Georgia