WashTimes Reports: Justice Ginsburg's Boycott of the "Outrageous" Pro-Life "Red Mass"

The mention of Sam Alito voting "Catholic ticket" on the Supreme Court reminds me that Greg Pierce summarized a new magazine article in his "Inside Politics" column in the Washington Times this week. When President Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court, there obviously wasn't any concern of them voting on a "Jewish ticket." Their religion was rarely discussed -- in fact, most might be surprised at how little their nominations were discussed at the time. But Ginsburg ostentatiously displays her objection to the "outrageous" anti-abortion sermon she could hear at the Catholic "Red Mass" held ceremonially before each term of the Supreme Court:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while not at all religious, says she takes pride in her Jewish heritage. And she says that has changed some traditions at the Supreme Court and how she ruled in at least one case involving Christianity.

"Think of how many prominent people in different fields identify themselves proudly as Jews but don't take part in the rituals," Justice Ginsburg told Abigail Pogrebin, who writes about the jurist in her book "Stars of David."

An excerpt in the February issue of the Jewish magazine Moment focuses on the author's interview with Justice Ginsburg in the jurist's chambers at the Supreme Court.
Although she is not religiously observant, Justice Ginsburg said that being Jewish matters greatly to her. I'll show you one symbol of that which is here," she told the writer, guiding her to the main office door, where a gold mezuzah was nailed prominently to its frame. "At Christmas around here, every door has a wreath. I received this mezuzah from the Shulamith School for Girls in Brooklyn, and it's a way of saying, 'This is my space, and please don't put a wreath on this door.'?"

Justice Ginsburg said she boycotts the annual Red Mass, because of the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion.

"Before every session [of the court], there's a Red Mass. And the justices get invitations from the cardinal to attend that. And a good number of the justices show up every year. I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion. Even the Scalias -- although they're very much of that persuasion -- were embarrassed for me."

Pogrebin, the author and interviewer here, has a national TV background. A quick bio promoting a recent author's appearance included: "Ms. Pogrebin has produced television programs for Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, and 60 Minutes’ Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley. She was a senior correspondent for Brill’s Content, a contributing writer for Talk magazine, and is now a freelance writer."

She is also the daughter of Ms. magazine co-founder Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and as an old Commentary book review points out, you can see the liberal-media background coming through young:

We are told a heartwarming story about Letty's daughter Abigail, who saw a sexist Wheaties commercial in July 1973, wrote a letter of protest to the company and, dissatisfied with the response, boycotted Wheaties (along with lettuce, grapes, and Gallo wine) for two years, until the commercial was replaced...

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis