TIME History

The Civil War Was Won by Immigrant Soldiers

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One in four Union fighters was foreign-born

In the summer of 1861, an American diplomat in Turin, Italy, looked out the window of the U.S. legation to see hundreds of young men forming a sprawling line. Some wore red shirts, emblematic of the Garibaldini who, during their campaign in southern Italy, were known for pointing one finger in the air and shouting l’Italia Unità! (Italy United!). Now they wanted to volunteer to take up arms for l’America Unità!

Meanwhile, immigrants already in the United States responded to the call to arms in extraordinary numbers. In 1860, about 13% of the U.S. population was born overseas—roughly what it is today. One in every four members of the Union armed forces was an immigrant, some 543,000 of the more than 2 million Union soldiers by recent estimates. Another 18% had at least one foreign-born parent. Together, immigrants and the sons of immigrants made up about 43% of the U.S. armed forces.

America’s foreign legions gave the North an incalculable advantage. It could never have won without them. And yet the role of immigrant soldiers has been ignored in the narrative of a brothers’ war fought on American soil, by American soldiers, over issues that were uniquely American in origin.

In the 1860s, Confederate diplomats and supporters abroad were eager to inform Europeans that the North was actively recruiting their sons to serve as cannon fodder. In one pamphlet, Confederate envoy Edwin De Leon informed French readers that the Puritan North had built its army “in large part of foreign mercenaries” made up of “the refuse of the old world.”

Embarrassed Northerners claimed the Confederacy exaggerated how many foreign recruits made up the U.S. armed forces—pointing to immigrant bounty jumpers who enlisted to collect the money given to new recruits, deserted, and then re-enlisted. The underlying premise was that foreigners were not inspired by patriotic principle and, except for money, had no motive to fight and die for a nation not their own.

It was not true. Immigrants tended to be young and male, but they enlisted above their quota. Many immigrants left jobs to fight for the Union, enlisting before the draft—and the bounties—were even introduced. They volunteered, fought, and sacrificed far beyond what might be expected of strangers in a strange land.

Historians have done an excellent job of retrieving the voices of native-born, English-speaking soldiers. But the voices of the foreign legions remain silent—thanks to the paucity of records in the archives, the language barriers posed to historians, and, perhaps, a lingering bias that keeps foreigners out of “our” civil war.

Why did they fight? What were they fighting for? Recruitment posters in the New York Historical Society provide hints at the answers. One poster reads: Patrioti Italiani! Honvedek! Amis de la liberté! Deutsche Freiheits Kaempfer! (Italian patriots! Hungarians! Friends of liberty! German freedom fighters!) Then, in English, it urges “250 able-bodied men . . . Patriots of all nations” to fight for their “adopted country.”

One immigrant mother gave testimony in 1863 to an antislavery convention as to why her 17-year-old son was fighting for the Union. “I am from Germany where my brothers all fought against the Government and tried to make us free, but were unsuccessful,” she said. “We foreigners know the preciousness of that great, noble gift a great deal better than you, because you never were in slavery, but we are born in it.”

Following the failed Revolution of 1848, thousands of young Germans fled to America. They took up arms in what they saw as yet another battle in the revolutionary struggle against the forces of aristocracy and slavery. “It isn’t a war where two powers fight to win a piece of land,” one German enlistee wrote to his family. “Instead it’s about freedom or slavery, and you can well imagine, dear mother, I support the cause of freedom with all my might.”

In another letter written to his family in Europe, a German soldier gave a pithy explanation of the war: “I don’t have the space or the time to explain all about the cause, only this much: the states that are rebelling are slave states, and they want slavery to be expanded, but the northern states are against this, and so it is civil war!”

So it was civil war, but for many foreign-born soldiers and citizens, this was much more than America’s war. It was an epic contest for the future of free labor against slavery, for equal opportunity against privilege and aristocracy, for freedom of thought and expression against oppressive government, and for democratic self-government against dynastic rule. Foreigners joined the war to wage the same battles that had been lost in the Old World. Theirs was the cause not only of America, but of all nations.

Don H. Doyle is the author of The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War. He is McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. Follow him on Facebook. He wrote this for What It Means to Be American, a national conversation hosted by the Smithsonian and Zócalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

Watch an NYPD Officer Dance With a Gay Pride Parade Marcher

A beautiful, beautiful moment

Most New York City police officers remained stoic at Sunday’s annual gay pride parade, but one officer went above the call of duty. Way above. The officer — whose identity is sadly unknown — joined in on the festivities by showing off some dirty dance moves. (You can enjoy a taste of said moves in the video above.)

Paige Ponzeka, a member of an LGBT softball league, posted the clip to YouTube after the parade. One of Ponzeka’s fellow marchers, Aaron Santis, told BuzzFeed that he’d been trying (and failing) to get cops to dance with him all day. Finally, his plan worked.

“I didn’t expect him to get into it as much as he did,” Santis said. “The crowd just loved it and I think it made him want to dance more.” He added: “It was such a fun moment. He was such a good sport and I’m so glad he decided to dance.”

This certainly gives new meaning to the old NYPD nickname “New York’s Finest.”

TIME

John Oliver: Here’s How to Make Use of Your Spare ‘Leap Second’ Tomorrow

The comedian weighs in on the addition of one second to the world's calendar

Everyone’s day will be a second longer on Tuesday, thanks to the “leap second” added to our clocks to compensate for the gradual slowing in the Earth’s rotation.

With 86,401 seconds in your day instead of 86,400 seconds, what are you going to do with all that extra time?

John Oliver shared some ideas on Sunday on Last Week Tonight.

 

TIME society

This Is What Could Happen to the Confederate Flag in Court

Before this becomes a lawsuit, the Confederate flag should be taken down

The tragedy in Charleston has revived the movement to take the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.

On Monday June 22 — five days after the shooting in the AME Emanuel Church — South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called a press conference to announce:

It is time to remove the flag from our capitol grounds. … This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.

This is a particularly sensitive issue because the flag is on state property.

The Confederate flag on public property leads many to ask: what message is the government sending?

The case against flying the Confederate flag

For those who want the flag to come down, the message is a reminder of white supremacy and the war fought to maintain slavery.

States have been taking Confederate flags and monuments down for years now, and refusing new requests to fly them.

Just this term the Supreme Court in Walker v Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans permitted Texas to reject a specialty license plate proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans with a Confederate battle flag on it.

Justice Breyer concluded that what appears on the license plate is a form of government speech and that Texas could decide for itself what speech to permit. When Texas decided that it did not want to include the Confederate battle flag, Breyer concluded there was no first amendment right of members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to require Texas to include the flag.

Integral to the conclusion that Texas can keep the Confederate battle flag off their license plates are the twin ideas that the government is speaking through the license plates and that Texas can control its own speech.

Such principles were used to justify the 2009 decision of Pleasant Grove City, Utah, to reject a monument from the Summum church for display on public property.

Writing for the majority in City of Pleasant Grove v Summum, Justice Alito said “the display of a permanent monument in a public park” is likely to be perceived as the government’s speech.

The city could reject a religious monument, because observers would think the government was endorsing that monument.

So far, so good: the state can (and many of us believe ought to) reject the display of the Confederate flag on government property.

Now look at the other side of this.

What is the state saying by flying the Confederate battle flag?

What happens when the state government decides to speak by putting a Confederate battle flag or a monument to the Confederacy on its property (or permitting others to do so)?

What message is the state sending?

While we’re working on that thought experiment, take, for instance, the Confederate monument in front of the Sussex County, Virginia Courthouse.

Note the inscription: “The principles for which they fought live eternally.”

That makes me suspicious of the quality of justice that African Americans can receive inside that courthouse.

Indeed, many people now see the rise of the use of the Confederate flag during the Civil Rights movement as a response to the increasing claims of African Americans to equality.

And as Justice Alito recognized in the Summum case, monuments on public property will lead observers to “routinely—and reasonably—interpret them as conveying some message on the property owner’s behalf.”

Violation of the 14th amendment?

That leads to the question, then, of whether government speech that tells African Americans they are inferior – and perhaps that the era of slavery was right – violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

This is a stretch of current equal protection doctrine, which is concerned with tangible questions like funding rather than speech.

However, if a state legislature passed a statute proclaiming African Americans are inferior I can imagine that such a bold and vicious statement might rise to the level of a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Now take a further step: does the Confederate battle flag or a monument to the Confederacy tell African American citizens that they are inferior? And if so, does that violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

While the answer to the latter question may not be clearly yes, I don’t think it is clearly no, either.

Ultimately, this is really more a question of whether a state – and its politicians – want to continue to fly a flag that is so closely associated with a war begun to maintain slavery.

Many supporters of the flag say that the meaning for them is about southern heritage, not race hatred. And in this I am inclined to believe their statements about their motive.

But at this point in American history the flag has become closely associated in the minds of many with white supremacy, slavery, and Jim Crow segregation. Whatever its meaning once was – or still is in the minds of some – in the minds of many it is time to realize that this is a symbol that is sending the wrong message to U.S. citizens.

Before this becomes a lawsuit, the Confederate flag should be taken down from in front of the South Carolina State House.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Pens Remorseful Letter to Teen Girls

Apponequet Regional High School students, Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh, and Michaela Arguin (from left), hold the handwritten reply from Whitey Bulger.
David L. Ryan—The Boston Globe/Getty Image Apponequet Regional High School students, Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh, and Michaela Arguin (from left), hold the handwritten reply from Whitey Bulger.

"If you want to make crime pay, go to law school"

James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston crime boss who was convicted of 11 murders, has penned a letter to three 17-year-old girl in which he admitted he “wasted” his life.

The girls wrote to the now 85-year-old, who is serving life at the federal penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida, as part of a National History Day competition on leadership and legacy – but they never thought he would answer. “It wasn’t what we were expecting at all,” said Brittany Tainsh, one of three who wrote Bulger.

In the letter, dated Feb. 24, Bulger offered the three teens advice. “My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame + suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon,” he wrote in the note, which was excerpted in The Boston Globe Saturday.

“Advice is a cheap commodity some seek it from me about crime – I know only one thing for sure – If you want to make crime pay – ‘Go to Law School,'” he continued.

The letter is the first hint of remorse the defiant crime boss has ever shown since being convicted of involvement in 11 murders in 2013. He was caught after spending 16 years on the run. Even at his trial, Bulger showed no emotion as he was handed two life sentences plus five years.

In the letter, Bulger added that he “took the wrong road,” calling his brother William, a former president of the state Senate and of the University of Massachusetts, “a Better Man than I.”

“Don’t waste your time on such as I – we are society’s lower, best forgotten, not looked to for advice on ‘Leadership,’ ” he concluded.

Bulger is the subject of the upcoming film Black Mass, which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious crime boss.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Money

How the Sharing Economy Is Hurting Millennials

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Millennials are having to cope with an economy that is not delivering high-quality jobs

Coming of age in the wake of the Great Recession, the Millennial generation has had to accept an uncertain economic landscape as their new normal. One critical adjustment they’ve made is to enthusiastically embrace the upsides of the share economy. While their parents helped Craigslist and eBay become household names, today’s youth rely on crowdsourcing and funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Their collaborative ethos promotes a peer-to-peer approach that can cut out the broker and benefit both provider and consumer in the process.

By taking advantage of their collective connectivity, this generation shares information openly and at scale to (among other things) make best use of the excess capacity of goods and services. Examples of this approach are everywhere. Why buy a car—and pay money for a parking space— if you live in a pedestrian city where the vehicle will sit idle most days anyway? Instead, you can join Zipcar when you need wheels or use the Uber or Lyft app on your phone to get a ride across town. With so many shared resources, it makes sense to cooperate with others, especially if it means having access to assets that one wouldn’t be able to afford independently.

But as these economic arrangements gain popularity, there may be downsides for the rising cohort of young adults. Journalist Monica Potts offers a critical assessment of the “sharing economy” in the latest issue of the Washington Monthly that features a set of in-depth articles that focus on the relationship of Millennials and money (additional contributions are made by Phil Longman, Matt Connolly, and Jordan Fraade). Potts shows how Millennials have been creating virtues of necessity as a means of coping with an economy that is not delivering high-quality jobs.

Instead of following in the footsteps of their parents who married, bought homes, and had kids, Millennials are renting everything from homes to bikes, phones, and software, signifying a cultural shift that is radically altering their relationship to ownership. Instead of opting for the suburbs, Millennials are remaking the urban core of cities across the country, demanding improved transportation, more walkability, and better integration of technology into public services in order to benefit the collective rather than the individual. Some of these arrangements make sense over the long term, especially when the underlying assets are depreciating, but it also means that Millennials are missing out on recouping the gains from owning appreciating assets.

If we look at the balance sheet of young Millennials, and even Gen-Xers, we see declining incomes and lower levels of wealth, not merely vis a vis the rich, but compared to previous generations of Americans. In his piece, Phil Longman presents this as an emerging and consequential expression of inequality, arguing that perceptions of growing disparities might be best understood in generational terms. Rather than focusing on how exceedingly well the 1% is doing, it’s more instructive to recognize the decline of every generation of young adults born after the Boomers. In so much as the rise of the share economy is delaying a generational wealth-accumulating process, it is contributing to the pervasive downward mobility experienced by the Millennial generation. If people feel as though it is harder to get ahead than it used to be, it’s because it’s true.

One way that young people have traditionally been able to build up the assets side of their balance sheets is through entrepreneurship. However, Matt Connolly describes how Millennials are starting fewer businesses in recent years even as a seemingly endless wave of aspiring young Mark Zuckerbergs report in surveys and in the media that they want to do so. Without steady jobs, many of these young entrepreneurs take on temporary work, in effect creating a “Gig Economy,” characterized by a small, and less powerful, form of entrepreneurship that ends up supporting one job at a time and fails to spark the benefits we traditionally associate with small business creation.

Another impact of the Great Recession has been the delayed entry of young families into the economy as homeowners. Without savings to cover a down payment or the ability to qualify for a mortgage, Millennials are lagging behind previous cohorts in their rate of homeownership. Jordan Fraade sheds light on an innovative response, shared equity homeownership, which is gaining momentum in communities across the country. In shared-equity housing, the buyer gets a one-time subsidy that allows them to purchase a home that they would not be able to afford otherwise and in exchange, they are required to share the accumulated equity upon resale. This approach still offers the potential for wealth building but also provides access and stability for a generation desperately in need of both.

Shared-equity homeownership is just one example of the innovative policy solutions that we will need more of if we are to help the current crop of young families make the move up the economic ladder. Reversing their growing generational inequality is the new Millennial challenge and it will require a broad set of policies that can deal effectively with the numerous ways that inequality has expanded and grown more entrenched. Certainly, one set of policies should focus on limiting debt and bringing down the costs of accessing education and health care so liabilities don’t overwhelm the family balance sheet. But another set of policies is needed to assist young adults in building up their asset base over their life course and connecting them to productive ownership opportunities. It is our collective responsibility to make sure the emerging “share economy” doesn’t leave Millennials completely devoid of wealth.

Reid Cramer is director of the Asset Building Program at New America. He was a convener of the Millennials Rising symposium, which helped inform the articles described in this piece. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine,The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Parenting

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from People Who Stare at My Daughter

They probably don't intend to be rude or mean, so I've learned to give them grace, and to teach them

We knew after our 20-week ultrasound our soon-to-be daughter would have many health issues, but we pressed on.

There were many questions of if there was cleft palate or cleft lip, as well as if her eyes would be wider or nose flatter. We knew to prepare ourselves ahead of time for the questions and stares. We stared ourselves, getting familiar with the intricately woven fabric of her face. Her slightly slanted eyes were wider than most. Her small nose was open on one side due to her cleft palate. She has a wider set chin and neck.

But she was ours and she’s perfect, and we’d tell the world about her and we would be fearless in sharing and teaching others about our daughter.

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It was when I took her to our local hospital for labs with her home health nurse that the stares began. I distinctly remember a couple stepping in line in front of us at the admissions desk, acting as if we were invisible, which was hard to believe considering they looked right at us. As we left the admissions area, the same couple walked past my daughter in her stroller, decked out with a home ventilator, oxygen saturation monitor and numerous other pieces of equipment that made her life at home possible. They gave us a side-long disapproving glance.

I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say or think, but on the inside, I was fuming. Didn’t this couple know all people are created unique and different? That society has placed way too much emphasis on what is considered “normal” by simply judging one’s outward appearance?

I didn’t know what to say that day. And the truth is, I’m still not exactly sure what to say.

What I do know is I’m still struggling myself with what to say to others with disabilities. What I do know is on that particular day, my mama-bear instinct came out and I wanted to lecture this couple on appreciating the beauty in each and every person, regardless of their disability or uncommon features. I wanted to set them straight and tell them their behavior was unacceptable. I wanted to yell at the world for thinking there’s a right way and a wrong way as to how people should look. That it actually is okay to have a cleft lip that’s not fixed yet, and it’s on her to-do list — right behind open heart surgery.

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Jodie Gerling

But over the last few months, as we’ve ventured out more with our delicate daughter, I’ve learned in the beginning that I felt a sense of entitlement. I thought I could tell someone their response to my daughter was wrong and set them straight on how to treat others. However, I’ve since learned some new life lessons as I navigate these new waters.

1. Give them grace.

Know they’ve probably never had many opportunities to interact with children like my daughter. Give them grace that they might not know what to say, or how to look, or if it’s okay to stare. Acknowledge they’re trying, even if it’s not quite what I want to hear. Then give them the grace to walk into an uncomfortable conversation in hopes of bringing comfort to them on this topic.

2. Forgive often.

In the beginning, I took offense to so many things, thinking no one understood. But that’s just it: many don’t understand. And that’s okay. We’re in this together to learn together. Our family doesn’t have this all down, and our family and friends are learning right beside us. Before we had our daughter, we were these people too. People are going to say the wrong things, especially at the wrong times, like after a long day of appointments. But most of the time, they don’t know what they’re saying is wrong, they’re just trying to show support. It’s true many people don’t understand our journey, but that just means it’s our joy to help them understand, not to be offended and shut them out.

3. Be willing to talk.

I’ve learned to be willing to open up and say to a stranger staring at my daughter, “Isn’t she beautiful? It’s okay to stare at beauty like that.” Then I smile and ask if they have questions or would like to talk about her. Be willing to be the one to open the door of communication. Often times others are too scared to ask questions for fear of offending.

We’d rather they say, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stare,” so we can say, “We want you to take in all of the beauty in her, not to look away as if to say she’s not worthy.”

4. Be ready to teach.

We have this bag we call the “Bunny Bag.” It has a big bunny stuffed animal in it, along with the book “Audrey Bunny” by Angie Smith, about a bunny with an imperfect heart, and a short picture book called “Mattie Breathes” by Tracie Loux, about what a tracheostomy is in children’s terms and concepts. We’ve lent them to friends and to our kiddos’ playmates so they can learn more about our kids’ little sister. We’re teaching our friends, and they’re teaching their friends. Nothing makes our hearts soar more than when our friends say, “Will you teach me about Chloe?”

5. Be courageous enough to keep on keeping on.

At times, we’ve wanted to shut ourselves in and not venture out anymore due to the many stares, the comments and the sidelong glances. But what does that solve? It doesn’t help teach. It doesn’t help our daughter to thrive and grow. It doesn’t encourage our other children that it’s OK to look different. So we keep on keeping on. We continue to share pictures of her and share her life with others.

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Jodie Gerling

We don’t have it all figured out and we haven’t rehearsed some sort of speech to give each person who does a double take on our daughter. We’ve learned it’s not about feeling entitled to correct someone who says something wrong, but more about giving them grace and space to learn how to treat others with differences and disabilities. It’s more about gratitude for their desire to learn than it is about calling them out on the injustice of saying or doing the wrong thing.

Kindness goes a long way, and when it comes to teaching others about disabilities and differences, grace and kindness go much farther in the long road of changing the world’s view of what is considered normal.

This article originally appeared on The Mighty

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Selfie Sticks to Be Banned from Disney World Theme Parks

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Handout—Getty Images Disney World

People may have to once again endure the horror of asking strangers to take pictures of them

Walt Disney World announced Friday that selfie sticks would be banned from its theme parks, in the wake of an incident that stalled a roller coaster at Disney California Adventure on Wednesday.

Previously, the elongated rods designed to facilitate picture-taking had been allowed in the parks themselves, but banned from rides and attractions.

“We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie-sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast,” Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.

The incident in California earlier this week, which halted the California Screamin’ roller coaster for nearly an hour, may have finally convinced Disney of the myriad problems the sticks can cause if allowed into parks.

Selfie sticks will join a list of restricted items that include skateboards, shoes with built-in wheels and wagons—presumably both covered and not covered.

[Orlando Sentinel]

TIME society

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s History as a Champion of Gay Rights

Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at an annual Women's History Month reception in Washington on March 18, 2015.
Allison Shelley—Getty Images Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at an annual Women's History Month reception in Washington on March 18, 2015.

"I think that as more and more people came out and said that 'this is who I am,' the rest of us recognized that they are one of us"

It’s official: gay marriage is now a Constitutional right everywhere in America, thanks to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case on Friday. While there was a majority decision of 5-4, there is one justice who has stood out above the rest as a steadfast and fierce supporter of marriage equality, and you might know her as the Notorious RBG. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s support of gay marriage has been crucial, from her personal opinion of the American public’s shifting attitude to April’s oral arguments and, ultimately, the historical decision that says anyone in any state can marry the person they love. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan joined Ginsburg in agreeing that gay couples should be free to marry in all 50 states.

Even before the decisive oral arguments on April 28, Ginsburg was already very vocal about her take on gay marriage: America’s ready. In February, Ginsburg sat down with Bloomberg Business to discuss the high court’s impending gay marriage case. She told Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr and Matthew Winkler that it “would not take a large adjustment” for the American people to accept the Supreme Court’s decision to make gay marriage a Constitutional right.

The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous. In recent years, people have said, “This is the way I am.” And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor — we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that “this is who I am,” the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.

Then, during the hearing in April, Ginsburg used her famous sharp wit to shut down the opposing side’s arguments against gay marriage. For example, when tradition was brought up as an argument to maintain the marriage status quo, Ginsburg countered with the (extremely) antiquated Head and Master Law, which defined marriage as between a dominant male and a subordinate female. Clearly, that was a marriage tradition that desperately needed to be challenged, just like opponents’ idea of marriage as only between a man and a woman.

And when John Bursch, the lawyer representing the states who want to keep their gay marriage bans, argued that marriage was all about procreating, Ginsburg brought up this very astute point:

Suppose a couple, 70-year-old couple, comes in and they want to get married? You don’t have to ask them any questions. You know they are not going to have any children.

But perhaps the biggest nod she’s made was when she officiated a gay wedding earlier this month, which is already a clear-cut sign of her advocacy, and she dropped a sly hint to the SCOTUS’s decision. According to to New York Times writer Maureen Dowd, who was in attendance at the wedding of Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Michael Kahn and New York architect Charles Mitchem, when pronouncing the two men married,Ginsburg seemed to emphasize the word “constitution” when she said “by the powers vested in me by the Constitution of the United States.”

Though it’s nothing but mere speculation, it certainly wouldn’t be totally unlike the Notorious RBG to subtly wink at America in such a way. She didn’t earn her “notorious” title for nothing.

This article originally appeared on Bustle

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Here’s How Celebrities Are Reacting to the Gay Marriage Decision

Tweets from President Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and more

In light of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling Friday that all U.S. states must recognize same-sex marriages, here is how celebrities and politicians have been reacting to the news on Twitter:

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