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Christopher Scalia: My father's relationship with Justice Ginsburg ? 'best of friends'

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Antonin Scalia
Marty Ginsburg
Vladimir Nabokov
Jeffrey Sutton


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With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, many people wonder how she and my father, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, managed to be such good friends despite having such different views about the law.It seems so unlikely to some people that they ask me bluntly, “I hear they were friends – is that true?”Yes, it is. My mother, Maureen, adored Marty Ginsburg, and among the things those two shared was a love of cooking.My parents celebrated many a New Year's Eve with the Ginsburgs, visiting their apartment to enjoy one of Mr. Ginsburg’s gourmet creations and celebrate long into the night.One of the most remarkable things about their friendship, as far as I’m concerned, right up there with their ideological differences, was that this set of old-timers could stay up into the wee, small hours of the morning every year, out-partying their children.CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTERMarty Ginsburg’s death in the summer of 2010 affected my parents deeply; my mother still misses trading recipes with her friend. My dad had bought his old friend two dozen roses for the occasion, and Judge Sutton started teasing him, joking that there was no point to a gift like that when Justice Ginsburg had never sided with him in an important 5-4 case.My father replied, “Some things are more important than votes.”The point of this story isn’t that my father or Justice Ginsburg changed their votes to please the other, or that they pulled any punches when writing differing opinions – indeed, they are both known for their strong dissents. The point is that they didn’t let those differing and deeply held convictions undermine their dear friendship.This has already been one of the most difficult and divisive years in living memory; with Justice Ginsburg’s passing, it will become more so.Reasonable people of good faith will disagree about important issues.

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