September 7, 2013

"So I see the genius of our Constitution, and of our society, is how much more embracive we have become than we were at the beginning."

Said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, embracing a word I can't remember ever noticing before and a constitutional theory I've seen 1,000s of times.

"Embracive" is listed in the OED. It means, first, "Given to or fond of embracing; embracing demonstratively," but this is a "nonce-use." The quote, from 1855, from Thackeray, is "Not less kind..though less expansive and embracive, was Madame de Montcontour to my wife." The second meaning, going back to 1897, is "Embracing or tending to embrace all." Examples:
1897 Academy 18 Sept. (Fiction Suppl.) 70/1 ‘George Du Maurier in three volumes’ would be a fair embracive title....

1902 Edinb. Rev. Oct. 357 Important deities have been omitted from this brief catalogue, which is much more representative than embracive....
I take it Ginsburg is deploying the word to mean inclusive, perhaps with more love/empathy/enthusiasm.

27 comments:

chuck said...

And pretty soon we will send the non-embracive to prison. That's just how wonderful we are.

Austin said...

If Ginsburg ultimately intended to communicate the idea that "diversity" is an inherent and seminal feature of the constitution, she is directly refuted by both John Jay in Federalist 2, and the plain language of the preamble. The mass immigration from Western Europe was perfectly consistent with the values, intent, and ideals expressed in the constitution. The illegal mass immigration of rootless third-world vagabonds is an absolute betrayal of those same values and ideals.

Carnifex said...

Well Lin/Prog thought is based on feeling. She is just being true to herself.

PS.

For that I commend her. She's more honest that the RINO's.

Rose said...

It's like an exploding universe, going two directions at once. we are both more 'embracive' and more polarized all at the same time.

We're both more puritanical, and more depraved all at the same time.

More educated, and yet more ignorant, all at the same time - Maybe it'll all come back around and meet up somewhere down the line. And we'll be able to fully evaluate what's better and appreciate it.

But, right now, too many things are going the wrong way, from Miley to Obama's/Holder's usurpation of power for me to give it the full appreciation it deserves.

The Godfather said...

God help us! (I mean that.) Doesn't Ginsburg know that our Constitution involves negative rights, as President Obama the Constitutional scholar taught us? I don't want the Government embracing me, it does enough of that already. Let it leave me alone, except insofar as it protects my life and property from enemies foreign and domestic, so that I am free to embrace, or not embrace, who and what I choose.

cubanbob said...

I would be more impressed with her if she took the constitution more seriously.

Donald Douglas said...

She means "inclusive." But lefties love expanding language...

Lem said...

I read a word last night I had not read, nor heard in a long time.

Skedaddle, in an article by P. J. O'Rourke.

Levi Starks said...

And yet we've just begun on our journey....

Ann Althouse said...

@Lem

I have a post from about a year ago on the word "skedaddle."

Levi Starks said...

A quick Google search revealed that there are available both I heart Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and I heart Antonin Scalia tee shirts.
Strangely there were also I hate Antonin Scalia tee shirts, but nothing in that category for RBG.

EDH said...

Ann Althouse said...@Lem
I have a post from about a year ago on the word "skedaddle."

Palladian said...
"Let's get out of here"

I'm unfamiliar with it unless you append the phrase with the word "Scooby".
8/13/12, 11:26 PM



Funny, I've always associated "skaddle" with this cartoon sound effect.

Oso Negro said...

The real genius is in claiming respect for the Constitution while embracing a policy of "fuck you, we do what we want."

paminwi said...

Remember when Ginburg said our Constitutionwas old and should not be used as a basis for the new Egyptian constitution? Look to South Africa she said. So, now it is just super? Make up your mind, please.

betamax3001 said...

Naked Ginsburg Dylan Robot says:

No, I do not Feel that Good
When I see the Heartbreaks of Which you're Embracive
If I was a Master Thief
Perhaps I'd Robify Them

And Now I Know you're Dissatisfied
With your Position and your Poor Plaintiff
Don't you Understand
The Constitution is Not my Problem

Lem said...

She used the word ‘embracive’ because the word ‘inclusive’, these days, might turn some people off.

People might turn her off.

The perception is that the word inclusive belongs to a cause. This other cause, claiming inclusiveness, has a different vantage point, seemingly from above, looking on at everything, including at me, and the me that felt like me, the character who participated in life, somehow did not know that inclusive had become exclusive.

Once you become aware of the absurd transformation of the word, you can integrate yourself, as the supreme Ruth Bader has, and become wise and knowing as she really is.

not.

David said...

Inclusive is too grudging. Grudgingly inclusive. We need a happier word. Preferably one that nobody but the writer understands.

Maybe it is time for her to retire.

David said...

Skedaddle!

Lem, I use that word. Apply it to my grandkids if they become bothersome. The kids love the word. It's so much better than telling them to go away.

Lem said...

Betamax where art thou.

Betamax son of tape upon this rock I shall build a band.

And wait... And wait some more.

Lem said...

Sorry, I forgot about the rules.

traditionalguy said...

I am large. I contain multitudes, said the Constitution by Walt Whitman.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Hey, remember when Bush was ridiculed for making up words?

Terry said...

"So I see the genius of our Constitution, and of our society, is how much more embracive we have become than we were at the beginning."
I hope the clever Althouse readers detect that Ginsberg is talking about how she imagines herself, and not about the constitution.
I am so tired of being subjected to the psychological needs of leftists.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

‘embracive’ is a perfectly cromulant word!

betamax3000 said...

Embracify.

Embracivity.

Embracinectivity.

Embracametrics.

Beldar said...

Things don't just "get into" constitutions. The whole point of a constitution is to have a set of rules that are especially firm and especially hard to change, so they can be relied upon to withstand waves of popular opinion.

The only way a constitution "speaks to" a topic is if someone put something into the constitution to do that. A constitutional guarantee or restriction can't just coalesce from peoples' thoughts, aspirations, and dreams, no matter how noble or ig-.

That's why, for example, there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The drafters of our Constitution certainly didn't put such a right into the Constitution, nor into the Bill of Rights or other amendments to it.

With due respect to her and her liberal colleagues, Madame Justice Ginsburg has never acknowledged, accepted, or applied this bedrock definitional principle. To the contrary, her view of a what's contained in a "constitution" is pretty much synonymous with "whatever me and my liberal buddies think is a good idea at any particular time." That's fine if you're Mao or Stalin; not so much if you're an Article III judge whose most sacred duty is interpreting and applying that Constitution.

Mitch H. said...

Better to weave a new word from whole cloth, than to renovate a derelict one that has been left to decay in deserved obscurity. Victorian writers were prone to heavy, purple coinage that were lead slugs under the garish paint. This is, after all, the generation whose bent tastes inflicted Bulwer-Lytton upon an outraged posterity.