As far as cultural icons go, few people rival the might of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The groundbreaking Supreme Court Justice, who became the first Jewish female - and second female justice ever - to serve on the Supreme Court, has gained a cultish appreciation over the years for her outspoken views, tireless work ethic and fearless commitment to the advancement of women’s rights. And quite frankly, she deserves it. If there was ever a dream dinner party guest, who could top the stories of The Notorious RBG?
As it turns out, the justice doesn’t only have awe-inspiring tales about her legal battles: she can drop a casual celebrity anecdote, too. And while it’s undoubtedly one of the more unlikely partnerships to emerge out of 2019, we are totally here for the fact that J-Lo and Ginsburg have struck up a friendship.
At the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. at the weekend, the iconic justice revealed that the singer had reached out to see if she could meet her and introduce her husband-to-be, Alex Rodriguez. Being the total legend that we all know and love, Ginsburg happily obliged, and J-Lo and A-Rod ended up hanging out at her Supreme Court chambers for a chat.
“I was called up about a month or so ago by Jennifer Lopez, and she said she would like to meet me and introduce her fiancé Alex Rodriguez,” she told the crowd. “So they came to chambers, and we had a very nice visit. She mostly wanted to ask if I had any secret about a happy marriage. But now A-Rod is traveling with her to concerts all over the world…”
NPR’s Nina Totenburg, who was interviewing Ginsburg at the discussion, then asked her what advice she had shared. Ginsburg, who knows how to spin a compelling story, knew exactly how to deliver.
“On the day I was married, my mother-in-law - I was married in her home - she took me aside and said she wanted to tell me what was the secret of a happy marriage,” she continued.
Then, showcasing her dry sense of humour, she added: “It helps sometimes to be a little deaf”.
Practising selective hearing isn’t just a handy skill for relationships, Ginsburg explained. It’s wisdom that can be used in a variety of contexts - “every workplace, including the good job I have now”.
Ginsburg knows more than a thing or two about marriage, even though the media narrative has, quite rightly, focused on her trailblazing work for gender equality. The iconic lawmaker was married to her husband, Marty Ginsburg, for more than 50 years until he died in 2010.
During her interview at the weekend, Ginsburg also opened up about her cancer battles, crediting her work with helping her overcome ill health.
“As this audience can see, I am alive,” the 86-year-old said with smile. “And I’m on my way to being very well.”
“I love my job. It’s the best and the hardest job that I have ever had,” she said. “Instead of concentrating on my aches and pains, I just know that I have to read this set of briefs, go over the draft opinion.”
As if Ginsburg’s secrets to a happy marriage weren’t giving you life, then the information that she actually asked Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to introduce her as the “J-Lo of jurisprudence” to the audience surely will. Naturally, the original J-Lo then herself paid tribute to Ginsburg, praising her “powerful and sharp” mind on Instagram.
“It was an honour to meet RBG… I so look up to her as a person, a woman, and a human being; but also as a wife, a working woman, and a passionate advocate for equality for women and minorities, the underprivileged of this country. I was in awe of her, watching how powerful and sharp she is, how clear and full of wisdom,” she began.
The singer also revealed that the justice had imparted some inspiring words of wisdom on how to unite the country in the face of political division.
“I loved her advice for a happy marriage, but my favourite response of hers was to a question I asked about the country seeming so broken right now and divided, and that it’s sad to me, and what should Alex and I be doing… how can we help?,” she continued. “And she said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing, inspiring people and living by example. You must continue to change the world with your respective gifts.’ I thought to myself yes, be your best self, put love into the world and justice, not hate and fear; help wherever and whenever you can. And following that piece of sage advice… that’s what we intend to do.”