Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia’s Friendship Is Missing in America Today

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Justices Scalia and Ginsburg maintained a close friendship despite having opposing political views. Americans today should follow their example and embrace friendships with those they disagree with. Photo: Wally Gobetz on Flickr.

Jake Lieberman, Staff Writer

It is not too often that you see two people on opposite sides of the political spectrum become incredible friends. Yet the late Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia did just that. Even though Ginsburg was a liberal while Scalia was a conservative, their friendship persisted.

In America today, we need more people who have attitudes and friendships like that of Scalia and Ginsburg. It’s perfectly fine to disagree with someone. However, discourse should remain civil, and both people should listen to and respect each other’s opinions. Our country should be a place where peaceful disagreement and debate are encouraged.

In a time of such national and international turmoil, we need to set aside our political differences and focus on hearing each other. Let’s circle back to 2016: Scalia died in February of that year. When a Supreme Court justice passes away, the president  has the opportunity to appoint a new person to occupy their position.

In February 2016, Republicans criticized then-President Barack Obama for trying to appoint another liberal to the Supreme Court in the nine months that remained before the presidential election that year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was particularly adamant about this issue.

In contrast, with the passing of Ginsburg occurring just over one month before the impending 2020 election, McConnell has completely reversed his stance. Currently, he is fighting for the Supreme Court position to be filled immediately by President Donald Trump, which will allow a Republican-backed candidate to occupy Ginsburg’s former Supreme Court seat. Hypocrisy or what? 

With Trump fueling this madness, Democrats are hoping to delay Republicans as much as possible. On the other hand, if the Republicans want to increase Trump’s chance of winning the 2020 presidential election — and if it comes down to a decision by the Supreme Court — they need to secure the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee, before Nov. 3.

With such aggressive, combative political views exploding today, it is difficult to imagine genuine dialogue and listening between two individuals with such contrasting views as that of Ginsburg and Scalia. However, their friendship was authentic, and that type of friendship is needed more now than ever.

When two people from opposite sides of the political spectrum get along, listen to each other and respect one another, they provide an example to the rest of the nation that it’s perfectly fine to maintain a friendship and civility with a person with whom you disagree. As two people with significant power and recognition, Scalia and Ginsburg can provide a guide for America as our nation seeks some type of way to listen to and understand each other. Even for very difficult topics, it will allow us to have uncomfortable conversations.

If our country could finally see that, I believe that it would leave a huge positive impact on our current situation where there is immediate outcry and outburst when two people from different sides of the spectrum attempt to talk. It could prevent violence and intimidating times, such as death, destruction and more polarization between Republicans and Democrats.

So, in my eyes, America just needs a couple of people in power who, despite their different political views, respect one another while listening, showing that even though you don’t agree, you can still respect each other, hear each other, discuss challenging issues and possibly even become friends. Let me end on this: we need another Ginsburg-Scalia friendship really soon.