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lace collar with Niihau shells

The lace collar with rare Niʻihau shells presented to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the William S. Richardson School of Law.

A gift from the University of Hawaiʻi‘s William S. Richardson School of Law is featured in the new documentary, RBG, about U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In the film, now playing across the nation, Ginsburg reaches for a box resting atop several others in her office closet. Opening the box reveals a Hawaiian lace jabot (judicial collar) made from 49 rare pink kahelelani Niʻihau shells, a gift from the law school when Ginsburg visited in February 2017 as its jurist-in-residence.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took part in the U.S. Supreme Court Jurist-in-Residence program at the William S. Richardson School of Law.

“This one was given to me by the University of Hawaiʻi,” Ginsburg explains in the documentary to co-director Betsy West. “(It was) made with French lace, and the beads (shells) are from the beach.”

Associate Dean Ronette M. Kawakami designed, sewed and presented the collar in addition to her many duties as key hostess during Ginsburg’s five-day visit. Kawakami set up gatherings for the justice not only with UH law school students, but also with UH undergraduates and high school students from 10 schools.

“She’s a lefty, so I made the special, delicate collar decorated with shells gathered on the island of Niʻihau to be lefty-friendly,” said Kawakami.

See the full story on the law school’s website.

Related UH News video: Ginsburg shares decades of wisdom with UH law students

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