The opening of this year’s Supreme Court term on the first Monday of October will mark the release of a new Forever stamp featuring the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
While it may not be surprising that the United States Postal Service will be serving up a bouquet to the Left, it’s still regrettable that while it’s been three years since Ginsburg’s death, it’s been nearly eight since the passing of her beloved friend and bench mate, Justice Antonin Scalia. Yet, no such honor has been extended to acknowledge and celebrate the Supreme Court’s first Italian American and the nation’s most consequential legal mind of the last half-century.
In announcing the stamp’s release, set for Oct. 2, the Postal Service lauded the Brooklyn native for her “groundbreaking contributions to justice, gender equality, and the rule of law.” The post office’s PR department went on to say that “the stamp captures her enduring spirit and tireless dedication to upholding the principles of the Constitution.”
Never mind that those so-called constitutional principles regularly changed in Ginsburg’s mind according to the case before the High Court. By her standards, the United States Constitution was a living and breathing document—its words meant whatever she wanted them to mean in the moment.
The recent issue of “Philatelic,” the federal agency’s quarterly catalog promoting and selling available stamps, devotes a two-page spread to the new release. It’s reminiscent of Hollywood glamour magazine propaganda of another era but with a modern twist: In addition to postage, Ginsburg aficionados can also purchase notecards and even small notebooks emblazoned with the late justice’s image, which was painted by Michael J. Deas, and which was based on a photograph taken by Philip Bermingham.
Over the years, the U.S. Postal Service has previously commemorated other Supreme Court justices, including Joseph Story, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, William Brennan Jr., and Thurgood Marshall.
The longtime friendship that existed between Justices Scalia and Ginsburg has been well documented. Diametrically opposed philosophically but thick-as-thieves personally, their camaraderie so beautifully represented the pluralistic ideals that have served our country so well for so long.
But no doubt due to its own institutional and ideological bias, the Postal Service has missed—by excluding Scalia, at least thus far—a golden opportunity to acknowledge not only the value of civility, but also the court’s diversity, given his family’s emigration from Italy.
Scalia’s fidelity to the Constitution and his groundbreaking ascent to the nation’s highest court makes him a worthy candidate to enjoy the imprimatur of the United States Postal Service. “Nino” remains forever in the hearts and memories of Americans who revere the Founders’ words.
His official portrait, which hangs in the court and was painted so beautifully by the late Nelson Shanks, deserves to be on a Forever stamp of its own—and released on the first Monday in October of 2024.
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Author: Brian Gottstein
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