If there were any doubt remaining about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s status as a judicial rock star and cultural icon, it was laid to rest at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 4 as she took the stage at a Washington hotel to speak before 1,200 adoring law professors.

The standing ovation that greeted the justice—who arrived 30 minutes late, in true rock star fashion—was sustained as many in the typically buttoned-up Association of American Law Schools crowd strained to snap a picture of Ginsburg on their phones. Many of those in attendance had lined up more than an hour in advance to snag a prime seat for the hour-long discussion with outgoing association president and Harvard University law professor Vicki Jackson, and the line to get in the ballroom eventually snaked around the lobby of the cavernous Marriott Wardman Park hotel, where the three-day academic conference was held.

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