RIP, RBG

We arrived for our weekender, anticipating a transition to early fall-like weather. But shortly after setting up Cloud 9 and firing up the grill, we were shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After nearly three decades on the court, and several bouts with cancer, she died at age 87, less than six weeks before the presidential election.

We admired Justice Ginsburg for many years, primarily because she was always a champion for LGBTQ people, ensuring fairness, justice and equality for us all. She had joined Justice Kennedy’s majority decisions in many landmark cases in LGBTQ civil rights history, including Romer v. Evans in 1996, Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, Windsor v. U.S. in 2013 and Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. In addition, she joined the majority in Bostock v. Clayton County in 2020. In her private life, she performed many same-sex marriage ceremonies — in fact, Justice Ginsburg was the first Supreme Court justice to do so.

Needless to say, she was and will remain an inspiration to us.

Although tributes to Justice Ginsburg were immediate and heartfelt, it took only about 30 seconds for the filling of her vacant seat to become the Next Big Thing. Despite her saying it was her “fervent wish” that her seat not be filled before a new president took office, President Trump promised to fill her seat “without delay.” Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, vowed to confirm the president’s nominee, even thought they had adamantly refused to consider a nominee before the last presidential election.

The remainder of our weekend was spent watching news reports, reading commentary, and tracking social media posts about the possible effects Justice Ginsburg’s death would have on all three branches of government — judicial, executive and legislative. The battle over how to fill her vacant seat will no doubt dominate the coming days and weeks.

Still, Chef Cliff found time to make some amazing meals, including a great grilled tenderloin on Friday and a pleasing paella on Saturday. The shift toward drier, cooler weather was a perfect complement to long evenings spent under starlit skies. As both an annual treat and an instant distraction, we watched a favorite movie for the umpteenth time, Vincent Minnelli’s 1954 classic comedy, “The Long, Long Trailer.”

In many ways, the movie provided context for understanding Justice Ginsburg’s many contributions to American life. In the film, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz star as Nicholas and Tacy Collini, a newly married couple who decide to buy a travel trailer instead of a house so they can travel to wherever Nicky must work on engineering projects and Tacy can provide him a comfortable home. At that time, keeping house and taking care of the family were considered women’s work.

In 1954, the same year the “The Long, Long Trailer” was released, Justice Ginsburg had just graduated from Cornell University (at the top of her class) and had gotten married to Marty Ginsburg, the only boy she ever met who cared that she had a brain, she said. So it’s not difficult to understand how the newly married Ginsburgs stood in contrast to the fictional Collinis. Although being a housewife was the fashionable thing to do, and those women who pursued a professional career were considered unwise, Justice Ginsburg persisted, supported in large part by her husband. The trail she blazed would eventually pave the way for every American to seek opportunities that had previously not been available, and for that we will be forever grateful.