Marty Ginsburg, R.I.P.

As assiduous readers of the VC have no doubt been aware, I’ve been away (and away from my computer) for the last 10 days or so — what else could have kept me from bombarding you with more World Cup musings?? — but the news did reach me of Marty Ginsburg’s passing last week, and I thought that before I return to more mundane matters I might say a word or two of remembrance. As many of you know, I was a Justice Ginsburg clerk (twice, as it happens), and I got to know Marty a bit during those years (and also in his capacity as a member of the Georgetown Law faculty, where I was a student and then a faculty member for a few years). Marty Ginsburg was truly one-of-a-kind, a genial bear of a man who, though he was widely considered the best tax lawyer in the US, was as free of BS and pretension as any man or woman you’ll ever meet. Marty’s devotion to his wife, and to her career in the law, was legendary (as many have noted); at a time when it was very unusual for a man even to just get out of his wife’s way, let alone to actually kvell (rough translation from the Yiddish: to revel in, or to beam with pride and delight) over her accomplishments, Marty kvelled plenty. My colleague Alice Abreu has pointed me to a speech that Marty gave in 2006 [scroll down past the encomiums to the text of Marty’s talk itself] when he was given the ABA Tax Section’s Distinguished Service Award; it’s a magnificent little piece, one that somehow captures, in a page-and-a-half, the wonderful twinkle that was always in Marty’s eye and the love and devotion he bore for his wife. I’m deeply sorry to see him go, and he’ll be missed by those of us who were lucky enough to have known him.