RBG welcomed Neil Gorsuch with personal gift
Published 11:01 PM EDT Sep 10, 2019
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg surprised Justice Neil Gorsuch when he joined the high court in 2017 with a gift that had some personal history, Gorsuch said in an interview with CNN published Tuesday.
When Gorsuch was a clerk for Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy, White gave him the task of organizing a clerk’s manual, which was aimed at helping future law clerks.
“White wanted to pass on the binder to his successor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in case she might find it helpful as she organized her chambers,” according to CNN.
“Well, fast forward about 25 years or whatever it was,” Gorsuch told CNN, “in my first week on the court, what do I receive?”
“A note in my inbox along with a big binder saying, ‘You may recognize some of this. I hope I’ve improved it a little bit since you’ve last seen it,'” Gorsuch continued describing Ginsburg’s surprise and the thoughtful memo she wrote accompanying it.
More: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch decries lack of access to justice for many Americans
During an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently described a similar gift she received from Ginsburg when she was new to the court
Ginsburg gave Sotomayor a copy of her bench manual, according to Sotomayor, that provided insights into how RBG ran her chambers so Sotomayor didn’t have to start from scratch in setting up hers.
Sotomayor also described the time Ginsburg sent her a note after Sotomayor penned her first Supreme Court opinion, telling her “how fine of an opinion it was.”
“She’s a wonderful colleague to have,” Sotomayor said of Ginsburg, to applause from the late-night talk show’s studio audience, adding that Ginsburg is “an amazing, brave woman and strong.”
Sotomayor also revealed that her nickname for Ginsburg is the “The Steel Magnolia,” since she’s “delicate on the outside, but she has an iron rod behind it.”
Earlier this summer, Ginsburg completed three weeks of radiation treatment for a localized cancerous tumor on her pancreas. .
The 86-year-old liberal jurist and pop-cultural icon has faced multiple bouts with cancer.
Last week, said her work on the Supreme Court helped her get through her medical treatments. “I think my work is what saved me because instead of dwelling on my physical discomforts, if I have an opinion to write or a brief to read, I know I’ve just got to get it done so I have to get over it,” she said.
Earlier this summer, Ginsburg praised both Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the two newest members of the court, by saying,”I can say that my two newest colleagues are very decent and very smart individuals.”
Though a conservative, Gorsuch, the author of a new book, has an independent streak.
As USA TODAY recently reported: “Gorsuch has made peace with the court’s liberals, often siding with Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in defense of the ‘little guy’ being surveilled, accused, tried or convicted of a crime.”
Contributing: Richard Wolf, Nicholas Wu