Judging the Value of Justice
It wasn’t long ago that the idea of a woman judge deciding cases would have been viewed as a joke. It was even rare to see woman on juries or working in a courtroom unless they were court reporters. Fast forward to today and see how things have changed. Two of the most influential judges in the US are women.
One serves on the Supreme Court while the other has an audience of millions from her bench on television. While they are both dealing with very different cases, they have some similar qualities. “Judge Judy” summed it up when she said. “They don’t keep me here because I’m gorgeous. They keep me here because I’m smart”.
Most of us have seen “Judge Judy” Scheindlin on television dispensing her famous stinging comments to people that appear before her. The cases involve some of the wackiest scenarios and at times, the explanations defy logic. It’s hard to imagine that many of the people appearing before her would ever successfully navigate the normal legal system. In spite of the need for drama and a dash of comedy to make for an interesting show, “Judge Judy” uses her knowledge of the law to render her verdict.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Her time on the bench has had its share of excitement and controversy as well. One of the first times she came to our attention was when she wrote the Supreme Court's landmark decision in United States v. Virginia, which held that the state-supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. She later went on to grab the spotlight with her dissenting opinion in the case of Bush v. Gore, which essentially decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.
While the decisions made by “Judge Judy” may be watched by more people, the decisions of Justice Bader Ginsberg have affected the lives of more people. That being the case, you would assume that Justice Bader Ginsberg would command the higher salary. After all, she is a member of the highest court in the land and decides cases that could (and has) change history.
In reality, it’s Judge Judy” that commands the highest salary. Her yearly salary is approximately $47 million (yes, MILLION) a year. Not bad for listening to people suing their former roommate/boyfriend because they loaned them money that wasn’t repaid.
Justice Bader Ginsburg may get front row seating at the State of the Union address events but her paycheck is much more modest. The salary for a Justice runs closer to $200,000 a year. When you consider the stress of the job , the salary doesn’t seem enough.
Can you imagine if the roles were reversed for a day? Brendan Spaar would love to see “Judge Judy” considering a case with the other Justices of the Supreme Court. Can’t you picture her saying, “The only attitude I tolerate around here is my own! You speak, then I rule, and after that you shut up. Do you understand?”
Justice Bader Ginsberg would find her patience exhausted if she took over the courtroom of Judge Judith Scheindlin. After about the third case of some person whining about their supposed damages for something that should have been settled without legal action, you can bet that she would be glad to return to the hallowed halls of justice and leave the television courtroom to “Judge Judy”.
It will be interesting to see how these two women of law will be remembered. They are both pioneers and have made us view the law in a different way. If they could ever have a meeting of these two, it would definitely be something to see.