Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Ears Wide Open in Egypt, Tunisia

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on January 31, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With January's arguments completed, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has embarked on a legal "listening" tour of Egypt and Tunisia, one year after the "Arab Spring" uprisings began.

The Supreme Court's elder jurist landed in Egypt on Friday, the start of a politically significant weekend there. Justice Ginsburg, 78, is traveling with her daughter, Columbia law professor Jane Ginsburg, according to the State Department.

Justice Ginsburg's visit to Egypt will be followed by a stop in Tunisia where the Arab Spring uprisings began, the State Department reports. Perhaps due to security concerns, just a few scant details about the associate justice's trip have been released:

"Justice Ginsburg is in Cairo to 'listen and learn' with her Egyptian counterparts as they begin Egypt's constitutional transition to democracy," a State Department press release states.

Among the Egyptian officials Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was slated to meet: the head of Egypt's High Elections Commission and Egypt's Grand Mufti, according to Al Jazeera English. The Grand Mufti is Egypt's highest-ranking religious law official, who issues opinions or fatwas about Islamic law.

The Grand Mufti's website touts recent high-tech innovations to his position, including "a sophisticated website and call center through which people can request fatwas." Perhaps that's where Professor Jane Ginsburg can offer some pointers -- she's an expert in intellectual property law.

Otherwise, it seems Justice Ginsburg's trip is more of a show of support to the people of Egypt and Tunisia as they take steps toward democracy. Ginsburg will also be offering her expertise, if requested: "Justice Ginsburg would be pleased to answer questions about the U.S. legal system and Constitution," especially civil rights and gender equality, the State Department press release states.

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