Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg no doubt have paved the way for Sonia Sotomayor and soon Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court. With the monumental progress that these women have made to the equality of the Supreme Court, sometimes I think the little things are lost. I was amused by a C-Span special that includes interviews with Supreme Court justices which aired in 2009 during C-SPAN’s “Supreme Court Week. In it, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflect on their choices (and lack of ) of judicial robes and collars. Sandra Day O’Connor describes a note that she received from a person in the audience during oral arguments one day early in her tenure as a justice. The note read: “I have been in the audience watching the court today, and I noticed that you did not have a judicial collar. Now all your colleagues were wearing white shirt collars and they showed under their robes. You just looked like a washed out judge.” O’Connor said she “took the note to heart” and began to research where she could buy a collar. She discovered that both robes and collars are difficult to find for women on the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg is shown giving a tour of her work closet to C-Span’s Brian Lamb and notes that one of her robes is from England and the collar is from Cape Town, South Africa.
Next month, I’m enthused and grateful to have the opportunity to interview Justice Ginsburg in her chamber for a writing project I started around the Christmas holiday, and have since begun in earnest to work on again. I won’t be asking anything about her judicial wardrobe and I have some good questions planned. I welcome any thoughtful ones you might have, too so please send me any questions you have for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.