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A Pointed History of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Collar

  • September 20, 2020

In 2014, the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the pioneering legal mind and advocate for equal treatment of the sexes who died on Friday, did something that probably none of her male colleagues were ever asked to do: she gave a tour of her office closet.

The occasion was an interview with Katie Couric after Justice Ginsburg’s strongly-worded, 35-page dissent in the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby decision, in which the court sided with a corporation’s desire to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on the grounds of religious freedom.

But Justice Ginsburg did not seem remotely put out about starting the conversation with fashion.

Opening the imposing wood doors of her wardrobe, the Justice revealed, on one side, the long black robes of the court, and on the other — taking up more than half the hanger space — her extensive collection of elaborate collars. She had them, she said, “from all over the world.” She had them for every occasion, and for every kind of opinion of the court.

As much as the nickname “The Notorious R.B.G.,” which came to symbolize Justice Ginsburg’s status as a pop culture hero in her later years, the collars served as both semiology and semaphore: They signaled her positions before she even opened her mouth, and they represented her unique role as the second woman on the country’s highest court. Shining like a beacon amid the dark sea of denaturing judicial robes, Justice Ginsburg’s collars were unmistakable in photographs and from the court floor.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/20/style/rbg-style.html

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