Justices Thomas and Ginsburg on the United States Constitution

September 17th, 2014

On this Constitution Day (one of my favorite holidays), I was struck by recent comments made by Justice Thomas about the value of our Constitution, based on a conversation he had with Justice Marshall:

“We may not agree on how it’s [to be] perfected, but it’s ours to perfect and not to destroy. Our Constitution is not perfect, but name me a better one.”

Justice Ginsburg did just that–she would pick the South African Constitution over the American Constitution:

I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” Ginsburg said in an interview on Al Hayat television last Wednesday. “I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”

Also, in other news, the Notorious RBG, described by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press as the “socially relevant public figure-cum-pop icon,” thinks the environment will be the biggest problem the Court faces in the future:

A 12-year-old boy, after complimenting the veteran justice on her work in the courtroom, asked Ginsburg what would be the defining issues for the courts of the future.

Without missing a beat, the measured Ginsburg told the boy, “One issue that will certainly be on the table is the environment. … Saving our planet will be a central issue of your time.”

Notice the juxtaposition between the question and the answer. The question focused on the problem facing the courts. The answer focused on problems facing the planet. They are, it seems, one and the same to the Notorious RBG.