"People could understand the injustice": Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the nation's "rapid" evolution on marriage equality

The Supreme Court justice also talks equal marriage victories across the country and her "spicy" legal blog reads

By Katie McDonough
Published May 2, 2014 3:49PM (EDT)
  (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Wall Street Journal on Friday released excerpts of an interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In it, she discusses the high court's historic ruling in United States v. Windsor, the nation's "rapid" evolution on marriage equality and the "spicy" legal blogs she loves. It, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is pretty great.

On Windsor, marriage equality and the speed of social change:

GINSBURG: The reaction to Windsor I think has been positive from the public. She was such a well-chosen plaintiff. People could understand the injustice of the way she was treated. I haven’t seen a social change that rapid in – ever. It’s just great that people who for years have been disguising what they were are now free to be what they are. I’m sure you know that years and years ago Justice [Lewis] Powell said there was never a homosexual clerk at the Supreme Court. Of course there were. And he had some.

WSJ: The court ruled relatively narrowly in Windsor, and did not address whether state laws could deny marriage to same-sex couples. Why not take on the bigger question?

GINSBURG: You saw the way the court disposed of the California case. The court generally moves in small steps rather than in one giant step. I think Thurgood Marshall’s litigation is a good example of that. For years he was not arguing that ‘separate but equal’ had to go [but rather attacking segregation incrementally]. Then, then when he had all the building blocks in place, he could bring the Brown litigation.

WSJ: Although Windsor’s holding was limited, lower federal and state courts have cited its reasoning to strike down restrictions on gay marriage.

GINSBURG: I think it was an inevitable next step on the part of people who were trying to promote a greater understanding.

On her Internet reading habits:

WSJ: Do you read legal blogs?

GINSBURG: I don’t look at them but my son does and my law clerks do. Occasionally I look at Slate.com because [senior editor] Emily Bazelon is a young woman I care for. There’s another woman at Slate who I think is very good, too. Dahlia Lithwick. She’s kind of – spicy.

You can read the rest here.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Equal Marriage Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Marriage Equality Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scotus