Reports on SCOTUS – Broomfield Enterprise

“Dinners with Ruth: Memoirs on the Power of Friendship” by Nina Totenberg

From the title, I assumed this book was primarily going to be about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Although she figures prominently in the narrative, the book is actually a memoir by National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Totenberg says that at the start of Supreme Court coverage, she was “in over her head,” with no legal training or knowledge. But she worked hard, researched her sources, asked questions, and grew into the journalistic mission.

Ginsburg first appeared on Totenberg’s radar when she won a Supreme Court appeal granting women equal protection under the 14th Amendment. The friendship developed after Ginsburg won a seat on the Court, after being nominated by Bill Clinton.

Totenberg’s most controversial reporting came during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings, when the Anita Hill charges were raised. Totenberg broke the story Sunday in Weekend Edition, two days before the final vote on Thomas’s nomination. This propelled her into journalistic notoriety.

Totenberg has (mostly “frantic”) memories of many other judges besides Ginsburg. These memories humanize a group of judges who might otherwise remain lofty, abstract figureheads, and this memoir is worth reading for that alone. Knowing a little more about RBG is the icing on the cake.

Kerry Pettis is a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian who has lived in Broomfield since 1975. Reading is her favorite occupation.