CHICAGO - Friday night 80 year old U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in Chicago for a centennial celebration of DePaul's law, business and music schools. An audience of 500 at the Chicago History Museum had a rare glimpse into the justice's worldview as she shared her personal history and background in law practice.
Saturday, Ginsburg made headlines when she criticized the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision. Ginsburg said during her visit at the University of Chicago Law School that while she supports a woman's right to choose, the 1973 ruling was "too sweeping and gave abortion opponents a symbol to target." Since then the momentum has been with abortion opponents angry over Roe, grounding a campaign that placed more state-by-state restrictions on abortion.
"That was my concern, that the court had given opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly," she told a crowd of students. "... My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change."
A graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, Ginsburg argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court before she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter and the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. She told the audience while she's fought for equal rights for all, the most difficult decisions she's made were to do with the death penalty.
After Friday night's speech, local doctor and attorney Dr. Barbara Bellar told Illinois Review she had the opportunity to go backstage and speak privately with Justice Ginsburg. While the two women view social issues from different perspectives - Justice Ginsburg as a member of the Supreme Court's liberal bloc and Dr. Bellar a social conservative - Dr. Bellar said she enjoyed a chance to speak with the justice.
"We chatted but she could not discuss current matters which are under consideration," Dr. Bellar said, "But I assured her that many people pray for the Supreme Court to have wisdom, clarity, discernment and a vision of purpose for society, etc."
Dr. Bellar ran for state senate in 2012 and became an Internet sensation when a videotape with her comments critical of Obamacare went viral. She remains engaged in political issues, speaking against abortion and in favor of traditional marriage. Recently, she's publicly urged fellow Republican state representatives Ron Sandack and Jim Durkin to oppose gay marriage legislation before the House.