Today is the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 82nd birthday. There are many stories out there documenting RBG's badassery. I thought I'd share mine.
In 2012, I was working at the State Department in Washington, DC, and my bureau supported a grant that sent Afghan women judges on an educational tour of the U.S. I was the program officer for the grant, and accompanied the women on a visit to the Supreme Court (we also went to a Super Walmart in Vermont - it was a diverse tour), where they had a private meeting with Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayer.
This was obviously very exciting. Our group got there early, and we were ushered to an elegant meeting room with a silver tea service, fine china, and a silver platter filled with giant cookies. Everyone was buzzing with excitement -- no one dared to touch the cookies, we just sat down with tea. Soon after we arrived, Justice Sotomayer appeared. She was warm and funny, and connected instantly with the women judges, asking them about their families and the challenges of balancing work with family commitments.
An attendant comes in to announce that RBG was on her way. Sure enough, we see this tiny, impeccably-dressed, imperial figure stroll towards the entry way. I am FREAKING OUT with excitement. RBG enters the room, helps herself to a giant white chocolate macadamia nut cookie the size of her face, then turns to us and asks, "Why hasn't anyone taken a cookie? Take a cookie!"
Everyone immediately leaps up out of their chairs and takes a cookie. Because when RBG tells you to have a cookie, you damn well better have a cookie. After we're all seated again, RBG leads an hour-long conversation with all of us, and she is so fabulous and wise and gracious, my heart is about to burst. She is everything she's hyped up to be and even better than you can imagine. She is sharp as a tack, asks good questions, listens, and genuinely seems to care about the women seated around her.
At the end of the meeting, she poses for pictures and says her goodbyes. On her way out, she stops to take another cookie for the road. The last thing I see is the figure of RBG strolling down the corridor of the Supreme Court holding a giant cookie. I have never been prouder to be an American than I was at that moment.
Happy birthday, RBG. Stay gangsta.