She made her voice known despite ailing lungs. Shortly after surgery for cancer, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cast her vote from her hospital bed to stop Trump's ruling against immigrants seeking asylum. Hers was the deciding opinion in the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision, making true the words of Emma Lazarus' poem “The New Colossus” inscribed on the Statue of Liberty - “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...”

The weight of words

Other words in Lazarus' poem unwittingly tie to Ginsburg, too. The reference to Lady Liberty's “mild eyes command” particularizes the gentle Justice's gaze.

It's as if the poet knew her when she further characterized the statue as a “mighty woman,” and “Mother of Exiles.” The Justice, now a frail 85 – the oldest judge on the Court - is similarly mighty for the weight of her vote to keep Trump from blocking escapees from tyranny. By her effort, the Statue of Liberty becomes more than an image on a ten-dollar bill.

Leading the people

It's curious that in a society known as a man's world, the emblem for truth, justice, and the American way is a woman. And I'm not just talking about the Statue of Liberty. There's also the female-formed Statue of Freedom that stands on top of the U.S. Capitol Building dome. It's equally odd that Lady Liberty, as history tells us, derives from ancient Rome where the goddess of freedom, known as Libertas, emancipated slaves.

The personification of justice as female goes back to the land of the pharaohs, again when men were rulers; yet the symbol of truth and justice was the goddess Maat, later called Isis.

Iconic images

The idea of a female representing justice continued into modern times with commemorative statues worldwide. There's the female form for the Fountain of Justice in Berne, Switzerland, in front of the Supreme Court of Brazil, at the entrance to The Palace of Justice in Rome, and before Germany's Central Criminal Court in Frankfurt.

The list is long, given the data provided last year in Brent T. Edward's “Symbolism of Lady Justice.”

In the Twilight Zone

Ginsburg fits right in with this list of iconic females for justice. When she voted to give asylum to refugees, she was also keeping the message of the Statue of Liberty safe from something other than Trump.

I'm thinking of that horrific climax in the 1968 sci-fi flick “Planet of the Apes” showing the Colossus in ruins, half-buried in what was left of the earth. You may remember the scene when, in 3978, an astronaut believes he landed on a strange planet where apes rule over humans until he comes upon the wrecked statue.

The astronaut's realization that he's back on earth, that humankind destroyed the world he knew in some global war, made the movie one of the all-time scariest. You might say that Ginsburg's vote rendered it no more than a Rod SerlingTwilight Zone nightmare – for now.