February 7, 2012
The Supreme Court‘s midwinter break is often used by justices to fly off to sunny vacation spots or European capitals where they address an audience or two on someone else’s tab. But this year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on a different sort of visit to two North African countries where popular uprisings helped topple longtime leaders. And in one of those countries — Egypt — she raised eyebrows after saying, during a television interview, that she “would not look to the United States Constitution” as a blueprint for crafting the nation’s new constitution.
Ginsburg wrapped up a State Department-sponsored visit to Egypt on Wednesday with a public seminar at the Cairo University law school. The 78-year-old Ginsburg told students she was inspired by last year‘s protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
“This is the most wonderful time in which to live and be among the young people who are helping your country and bringing about change during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state,” Ginsburg said, according to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. “Think of the people who lived before you and did not have this opportunity because they lived under a dictatorial regime.”
These comments come as many fear the Islamist influence that will come to the region, as the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups seize power.