Santa Fe a favorite summer getaway for Justice Ginsburg
|By Anne Constable, The Santa Fe New Mexican|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
For years, first with her late husband,
This year, Ginsburg toured Museum Hill, performed a same-sex wedding ceremony for a French couple in a private home, spoke at a sold-out symposium on women at the new
Everywhere she goes here, Ginsburg, an icon to women's rights advocates, seems to be revered.
And Ginsburg loves the city back. Not only the opera, and her friends here, but also the skies. The day before she was scheduled to go back to
She loves the music
In an interview during her visit, Ginsburg said her love of opera began in the 1940s, when she was 11. An aunt had taken her to see an abbreviated version of La Gioconda conducted by
She admires Dixon, an African American conductor whose career flourished after he moved to
Ginsburg has always loved music. She studied piano from age 8 into her second year at Cornell. At 9, she took cello lessons "because I wanted to get in the school orchestra, and it was easier than violin."
She and her husband listened to Saturday afternoon
Ginsburg thinks nothing of traveling to go to the opera. Next fall, she has plans to see
She has even had a piece written about her,
The justice counts opera singers such as
Ginsburg often has said she would have liked to have been a singer. "I love music, but I have no talent," she said. Asked which divas she would have liked to emulate, she named
'An indispensable part of her life'
Ginsburg usually tries to see the whole opera marathon on successive nights, he said, although she missed Carmen this year because of her travel schedule.
"Occasionally, she might skip the most standard piece," MacKay said. "She is really keenly interested in new and unusual repertory. And the fact that she is so vigorous in her pursuit of new works and new experiences in opera is nothing short of amazing."
MacKay said Ginsburg told him after Fidelio, set in Nazi-era
"She has a predilection for new works and likes to hear composers she hasn't known before," MacKay noted.
Before each opera performance, Ginsburg usually attends the preview buffet at the
"It's great to go to the opera with her because she's so knowledgeable," Purcell said. Usually, he added, he and Ginsburg get to talk a bit about the past court session as well. Keeping up with her past clerks is important to her, he said, and she has regular reunions with them, typically in
U.S. marshals, who accompany Ginsburg everywhere, sweep the
After the performance, Ginsburg often goes backstage to greet the cast and crew, many of whom are her friends.
She's always dressed elegantly, in flowing pants, with carefully selected jewelry. A petite woman who moves slowly but assuredly, she is always poised, quiet and articulate, especially when discussing seminal court decisions in which she has played a role.
MacKay, who hosted a dinner for her at his home this year, said, "
A certain chemistry
Later, Ginsburg said,
The Ginsburgs began visiting
We the people
Among the activities arranged this year was a visit to the
Her name helped draw more than 300 people, mostly women, to a symposium hosted this month by the
At a reception held at the former home of
Leger said she wanted to personally thank Ginsburg for raising the issue of how "we the people" has evolved over time. At the time the U.S. Constitution was written, Ginsburg told the audience, "we the people" referred to white, male property owners. Native Americans, Leger pointed out, could not vote until 1924 -- and in
"How could I not be both inspired and grateful for the stories
Onore said she especially admired Ginsburg's scalding dissent from the bench earlier this year in the
'This is the hardest job I've ever had'
While she was visiting
"My answer to those advisers is, 'Who do you think our president could nominate now that you could see on the court?' " she said. "The way the government is today, many members of
Ginsburg has beaten cancer twice, has a personal trainer -- the same one since 1999 -- and likes the collegiality of the court and its docket. "As long as I can do the job full steam, I will," she said.
"This is the hardest job I've ever had," said Ginsburg, who also has served as a law professor, general counsel at the
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