Wine recommendation for this post:
In raising a glass to toast the late, great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg I might suggest a kosher wine representing her Jewish heritage. Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon from the Golan Heights winery is a 91 point standard bearer for excellent, imported, Israeli red wine.

Actually, there’s nothing to suggest RBG strictly drank kosher wines. In fact, a known red wine lover, one of RBG’s most infamous wine references is actually Opus One, which she referenced drinking with Justice Kennedy one night before the State of the Union address. Allegedly it put her to sleep during the speech!

A bottle of Opus One will potentially set you back hundreds of dollars…and if you have it laying around, by all means, bottoms up!

Assuming you need something more in the $10-$20 range, then back to Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic ripe fruit and herbs are present on the nose and balanced with light acidity and oak through the finish. The wine is full bodied and well paired with rich stews, lamb, and roast.

I learned what a dissent was in high school.

I was studying for the business olympics test from a college law textbook that my teacher gave me to read to prepare for the competition. Tucked in the pages of the book was Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent from the 2000 case Bush v. Gore. An aspiring future law student, there were few examples of women in law as prominent and inspiring as Ginsburg. She didn’t show up on the competition test, but dissents did. And I remembered dissents because of what I remembered about her.

I would have taken her example and fighting spirit with me to law school…had I gone to law school!

Nevertheless, I learned how it felt to be told off and treated differently for being a woman while I was in college. Having traded the idea of making a difference in the courtroom for the idea of making a difference in the classroom, I found myself in a field experience paired with a male cooperating teacher who repeatedly relegated me to grading his papers and making his copies. I thought, at first, it was because I was young and inexperienced. When I went to my supervising professor and asked her how I might approach him about getting in front of the class more, she told me that as a woman in the workplace, I’d have to learn to except a certain level of indifference and/or disrespect from my male counterparts. This was apparently a common occurrence with this teacher, to whom they continued to give a teaching student assignment every year. She instructed me not to approach him about my role in his class as that would be out of line.

So I approached the Dean of the School of Education instead. I wrote a letter, my very own dissent.

I never received a response, though I remained self-righteously annoyed by it through much of my remaining time in the ed program.

Somewhere during that time, I found one of my all time favorite quotes, which is often mistakenly credited to RBG: “Speak your mind even if you voice shakes.” In reality, it’s a Maggie Kuhn quote. Kuhn passed away in 1995 just a year before RBG was appointed to the court. To my knowledge, there’s no record they were friends or ever met, though they fought for many of the same causes. I hope they get to share a glass of red wine in a better place!

In 2018, after two years of feeling like our democracy was being slowly whittled away, I watched the documentary ‘RBG.’ I don’t think I was the only person who came away from the film feeling like the, at the time, 85 year old justice was single-handedly holding the remaining threads of our country’s dignity together with her own small hands.

A champion of voter rights, women’s rights, civil rights, somehow her recent death feels like a final straw in a year that somehow keeps finding new ways to beat down hope.

I now contemplate the fight that is surely coming over the appointment and timeline of her replacement. Yet I can’t help feel we should all be, at least temporarily, less bothered by the person that will eventually sit on the bench and more concerned over preserving the legacy of the one who we’ve lost from it.

And so, in her honor, we should dissent.

Dissent from marginalization.

Dissent from prejudice.

Dissent from homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry, misogyny.

Dissent from, what she called, those things that are done in the interest of the “home crowd” that we know to be wrong.

Dissent from a status quo that doesn’t work anymore.

It is said to see better, we should stand on the shoulders of giants, at 5’1″, she somehow was often the mightiest voice in the room.

We must get off her shoulders now, and stand with conviction on our own two feet. It’s the very least we can do and yet the most important thing to do right now.


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