Judge Ginsburg is gone but not forgotten. The rumor in Washington is that Mrs. Edwin Meese is going to write a letter to the president asking him to pardon the Supreme Court nominee.
In the meantime, "l'Affaire Ginsburg," as we call it, has left deep wounds in the nation's capital. It has turned liberals against conservatives and conservatives against liberals and pragmatists against true believers.
In the past the liberals have had a fairly loose attitude about smoking marijuana joints, and the conservatives have linked pot puffers with agents of the devil.
But since Judge Ginsburg revealed that he had used grass at Harvard, everyone seems to have lost his ideological compass.
I happened to be at a bipartisan party the day after Ginsburg confessed to using a foreign substance while teaching law at Harvard.
Dabney, a fighting liberal, was horrified. "I'm shocked beyond words," he said. "How could we have a Supreme Court justice who is turning on?"
Template, whom we all think of as the conservative's conservative, was defensive. "The man had a few reefers when he was a student. Surely we are a forgiving nation."
Dabney was finding it difficult to control his temper.
"That's easy for you to say because conservatives have no regard for law and order. But nobody knows how a man or woman will rule on the Supreme Court once he's had a taste of the weed. I could not in good conscience support a pothead. We liberals owe that much to Nancy Reagan."
Template threw his hands in the air. "We can't judge people by what they smoked in the '60s. Even the president says it is not Ginsburg's deed but his confession that counts. Besides, if grass wasn't good for your health, why would cows eat it?"
I intervened, "I don't understand it. The liberals are dead set against the use of marijuana and the conservatives are all for it. Is it possible this has more to do with politics than with smoking?"
Said Dabney, "Liberals are for strong law enforcement and tough judges. We have to protect the Constitution. The eight justices on the court have never smoked a joint in their lives. We can't afford to have a 41-year-old justice tempt them."
Template, the conservative, protested. "If we are going to judge people by what they inhale we are never going to get the court the president wants. Let's not forget Ginsburg said he smoked his last marijuana cigarette in 1979. Surely this country has a statute of limitations on Harvard professors who make mistakes."
I said, "I believe you miss the point. Although Ginsburg may have quit in 1979 many Americans will look at him differently than they will the other eight justices. They'll wonder if his eyes are glazing over from the case he is hearing or from what he has hidden in his robes."
Template said, "It's typical of the liberals to kill a Reagan appointment because he had some Acapulco Gold in his youth. I'll tell you something. I would rather have a Supreme Court justice who relaxes in his chamber with a cigarette than one who is against prayer in the schools."
Dabney, the liberal, was not having any of it. "Marijuana is the most serious issue to face the Supreme Court since Bork's beard. I don't care what a man thinks," he said, "it's what he puts in his mouth that counts. For all I know Ginsburg could have been a great justice, but I wouldn't want to have to check out the plants in his window boxes every time he wrote an opinion."