CHICAGO (CBS) — The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ties to Chicago are many – and while she will be remembered for her time presiding over the nation’s most powerful courtroom, she also spent time in the Chicago area presiding over a wedding.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported Saturday on Justice Ginsburg’s important local ties.
“What she stood for was everything that was good and right,” said Jack Levin of Winnetka. “She stood for human rights, for gender equality, for honesty, for integrity.”
Levin recalls speaking engagements decades ago with the late justice’s husband, then-fellow tax attorney Marty Ginsburg.
The two became friends, and that friendship extended to Marty Ginsburg’s wife – an attorney, professor, appellate judge, and eventual U.S. Supreme Court justice.
“Ruth was so unassuming most of the time, and then when it came to the Supreme Court and meting out justice and doing what was right, she was – she was a tiger,” Levin said.
Ross noted that Levin referred to the late justice as “Ruth,” and wondered if she ever corrected him to ask him to call her, “Justice Ginsburg.”
“Oh no, not at all,” Ross said. “She was never pretentious.”
Justice Ginsburg was also never too busy for important life events, including presenting Levin with a humanitarian award and attending three of his daughter’s weddings.
But for the fourth, Levin said he asked, “‘Would Ruth want to do the ceremony?’ She said, ‘Sure,’ she’d love to do the ceremony.’
“And we were very nervous that the 300-or-so people wouldn’t hear Ruth, because she spoke very, very softly,” Levin said. “And she spoke so well and so loudly at that wedding – it was the first time that I had ever heard her actually speak out and project, and she did a wonderful job.”
Levin said he thinks Justice Ginsburg officiated dozens of weddings, but “I don’t know of any where she traveled to somewhere like Chicago to do the service.”
Marty Ginsburg is credited with lobbying Washington to consider his rising legal star wife for the High Court position while Bill Clinton was president.
“He worked in order to help her advance those talents,” Levin said.
Levin said he lent a “small hand” to that effort as well.
“(Marty Ginsburg) called me one day he said, ‘Do you know anybody at the White House?’ And it just so happened I had a close friend in the Clinton administration at the White House, and he said, ‘Maybe you could mention it to your friend,’” Levin said. “So I did mention it to my friend; sent him a few boxes full of her speeches and her opinions. And lo and behold one day, I got a call back – (President) Bill (Clinton) is seriously considering her.”
Levin said Justice Ginsburg’s passing was not a shock, but was saddening for him, the nation, and considering the social impact, the world.
A vigil for Justice Ginsburg was set for 8 p.m. Saturday outside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse downtown.