tv Life Career of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg CSPAN September 21, 2020 7:05pm-8:37pm EDT
of the justice's biographers, professor wendy williams of the georgetown law faculty. professor williams? >> ok, i think we're having some technical problems. so just for a moment actually, f i could, call on professor bernstein, one of the justice's clerks. professor, you're a member of the georgetown law faculty, director of our supreme court institute. >> i clerked for her on the
d.c. circuit, i didn't get the job in a typical way. in 989, i was working as a staff attorney watching memos for motions and pro se appeals. i was seven years out of law school, living with a 1-year-old insomniac. i got a call from r.b.g.'s chambers, the judge wanted to speak to me. the judge picked up the phone said she noticed my writing and wanted to know if i wanted to clerk for her. to my eternal mortification i didn't immediately say yes. i said i wasn't sure i could work the hour she is expected of her clerks because i had a young child. what followed was a prolonged silence from the person who devoted years fighting for gender equality and parents.
then she asked me, what are your hours like now. i told her i usually arrive around 8:30 in the morning and i have to leave by 5:30 to get to the day care center by 6:00 or hay start charging $10 a minute late fees. once i got home i couldn't work until the baby was fed and cajoled into sleeping which usually took hours. she said she thought she could accommodate my schedule and she hired me. so as a mom in my 30's, i joined the cadre of mostly male, newly minted, harr varrd and yale law grants clerking on the d.c. circuit in 1991 and 1992. then i got pregnant and it wasn't pretty. i was hospitalized were dehydration because i couldn't keep anything down. i stayed home in bed in the court's winter holiday recess. the judge called me to keep me in the loop about what was going on. when i returned to chambers after the new year, she put me
right back to work, assigning me cases just like the guys. i didn't apply to clerk for the d.c. circuit right out of law school. i wouldn't have scored an interview. but justice ginsburg saw in me potential i didn't know i had. her belief in me and the opportunity to work for her changed the entire trajectory of my career. r.b.g. didn't just fight for equality and opportunity in court, she lived it every day as a lawyer, a mother, a judge, and a boss. and if i could just add one last thing, r.b.g. died on the eve of rosh hashanah, the jewish new year. the justice wasn't at all observe ant but her entire life embodied the commandment central to the torah. justice, justice, we shall pursue. that pursuit will -- was her life's passion an purpose and
she retained an unshakeable belief that justice would ultimately prevail. > thank you. and now we'll hear from another one of the justice's clerks. >> thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening. not surprisingly, my first memory of justice ginsburg involves my daughter. i went to law school after completing jadge watt school and working for a while. my wife nancy and i had rebecca midway through law school. i vividly recall in my interview with the justice we spoke as much about being a parent while going to law chool as we did about the law. she asked how januaryity -- ancy and i cared for rebecca
while rebecca worked full time and i went to law school. did my best to exaggerate my responsibilities. she shared her experience of nappeds of being married. only later did i learn was also caring for marty when he had cancer at the time. i later brought rebecca, then 3 years old, into chambers to eet the justice. she was shy and the justice, perhaps seeing some of her shyness in rebecca, was deliked when she finally blurted out, my teacher let us have ice cream at snack time. the justice smiled and said her teachers never allowed that. later when rebecca was in middle school, the justice graciously sat with her for an hour-long interview far school project. a few years later the justice spoke at her high school
graduation. there's no doubt that many of the opportunities rebecca has had would have been denied to her if not for the work of justice ginsburg. the justice's pioneering work on behalf of women therefore has always had a deeply personal meaning for me. when my wonderful son ben was born a couple of years after my clerkship with her, the justice sent a gift to him and also to rebecca. so as the justice wrote she wouldn't feel left out. this was enormously thoughtful. as we told the justice jaff wards, we also took it as evidence that she could not help but strive for equality between males and females in every sphere of life. when i clerked for the justice, i confess that it could be a bit unnerving sometimes to offer my analysis of a case, to wait for the initial silence that was common in conversation
with her, as those who knew her were aware, and then to hear her quietly utter a complete paragraph that would not require the slightest revision if transcribed into print. that paragraph el fwantly got to the heart of the issues in the case. it invariably sent me back to my desk with greater clarity and with a commitment to live up to her example. the justice is well known and rightly sell brayed for her work in holding the law accountable for its commitment to equality. what also made a deep impression on me when i worked for her is something that many may not fully appreciate. this was her deep commitment to the idea of law itself. to its integrity, to its promise and her awareness of its fragility.
this led her to approach the law with both vigor and compassion. in terms of vigor, the justice was what we call a lawyer's lawyer. she gave close attention to the language of the law, its logic, and the meanings it could plausibly bear. she honored these elements. and would not interpret the law in a way that would do violence to them. on occasion this led her to conclusions she would not have preferred. she saw this, however, as a way of being faithful to the fragile achievement that is law. which requires constant and patient nurture. in the spirit of humility. the justice is well aware that legal interpretation is a human enterprise.
caring for the law also means the aspirations embedded in its language, its logic and layers of meaning. she knew that legal meaning is rarely self-evident. this required approaching the law with compassion. with empathic imagination and with deep appreciation of the human beings for whom law is created. it reflected commitment to words that those in the georgetown law community know are incribed on our library. law is but the means, justice s the end. she called upon us to meet her impossibly high standard with the same combination of rigor and come passion she modeled for us. i feel a personal sense of grief and pain with squssties
ginsburg's death. it is a remarkable testament to the legacy of a quiet, soft spoken woman who i never heard raise her voice, who believed in the power of reason, the promise of respectful persuasion, and the integrity of the law that she's mourned deeply by countless others who feel a personal sense of loss even though they never met her. i hope that we are all consoled and inspired by the words of a poem that my co-clerk, susan williams, sent to me over the weekend by maya an yes lou, "when a great tree falls." in lines that seem to have been written with justice ginsburg in mind, an yes lou says out of grief for the death of great souls we can move ahead by remembering. he last thrivense poem are, it
existed. it existed. can be, be, and be better for they existed. thank you. >> lovely. professor wendy williams are you -- there, very good. professor wendy williams, one f the justice's biographers. >> california on fire, alabama under water, the climate changing, the movement for the dignity and equality for the lives of black people in this country, and the most important presidential election at least in my lifetime, probably in yours, and now we have lost r.b.g. with significant implications for the supreme court and the most significant issues of our
ime. there's so much to say about her and her life and her work. i had the privilege of knowing er since 1981 so i -- i -- and i was part of that movement that she was part of, which was in the law equal of the land. i watched her in action. so i thought i'd talk a little bit about what that looked like and what she achieved. you can use the words truly awesome. so i'm going to talk about the time before she became a judge. and before she game a justice. and before she became -- i would never have thought, back
then, knowing her personally, a public icon with songs written about her, plays and movies done in her honor. books written about her life and work. murals on city walls. mugs and bags and t-shirts. even little onesies for babies all with her face etched on them. boston of my grandchildren wore their onesies in their young day. there was even a grasshopper named after her. she was an extraordinary bright brave, principled, focused, persistent person. plus she didn't require as much sleep as the average person. she couldn't have achieved what she did had she not had all those qualities in abundance. and against the odds, which notably included as she said of
her early adulthood, she had three strikes against her. she was a woman. a jew. nd a mother. woman and mother proved to be the most significant. here's what she dealt with and learned from as she entered the egal profession. against the odds always, she was admitted to harvard law school which just a few years earlier had begun admitting women. georgetown law was slow to open its doors to women of color and -- people of color and women. at harvard she was one of nine women in a class of 500. she was married to marty ginsburg. later on our faculty. and in 1955, gave birth to a
daughter. she had chosen her spouse, or as she called him, her life partner, very wisely and i'd love to talk about marty as well. i hope somebody else might do that. she applied to a dozen or so new york law firms for a job when she graduated but not one would hire her even when she was near the top of her class at harvard and tied for first in her class at columbia where she did her third year and she with she got a clerkship a federal district court judge in the southern district of new york only because one of her teachers at columbia went all out for her. promising the judge that if he hired her and was displeased he had, he himself had lined up a male graduate who was ready to replace her. and if he didn't hire her columbia law school would send im no more clerks.
she was hired by him and she shone. the she was recommended by one of her harvard professors for a clerkship with justice frankberger, the justice declined to hire the mother of a -- mother of a small child. fortunately, she then got a job at columbia law school for a special two-year project on international procedure, spent time in sweden, learned swedish. she even co-authored a book on swedish legal procedure with a swedish co-author and was nonhor -- honored with an honorary degree from a university in sweden. and next she became a law professor. again, against all odds.
in 1963, the year she was hired at rutgers, she was only one of two women hired on law faculties that year in the entire country and that was not an unusual number. the dean who hired her said she did not get the same salary a man would have gotten because she's married to a guy making a good living at a tax lawyer. in 1965 she had a second child, james, disguising her pregnancy in her mother-in-law's larger clothes. most women who got pregnant in those days got sent home. .t had happened the baby was born in early september just before the school smest started that term. she gave birth and went back to teaching. in the fall of 1969, she finally got tenure. having taught and written about
and she got a substantial ra ot ise. then the tide turned/ . 1 by 1969 it woman's legal movement had begin to emerge. it increased in number because the vietnam war was siphoning off all the men and they were routed to law school to fill the gap. older womennote, finally saw the opportunity, and many of those women had been inspired by the civil rights movement and the women's liberation movement. -- rutgers school law school put effort into addressing it after the 1968 .ace riots in newark
she was probably the least liked there. as for rbg, who finally had tenure, and therefore job security, she turned all her energy towards advancing the equality of women under the law. here is what she did. 1969 shest days of begin to work with others in the american association of law adopt to get the aals to that discrimination against women in american law school. which it did, by a substantial vote. aals also created a committee to further the project. they turnedlater back to the permanent committee of the aals. role, helpingajor to draft the original policy,
and serving on the committee's. if i remember, she even shared it for a while. -- rbg are bg sponsored sponsored the first -- in the country. the rutgers woman while reporter. she wrapup -- she published some of her own work with them. many such law reviews followed. three, she taught with the encouragement of her students on women in law in the spring of 1971. one of the first courses on the subject. which included, in her case, in working with her students on the gender cases showing up in the new jersey aclu office and in the national office in new york city. she was beginning, for the first time, to become not just an
academic, although she remained but a practicing lawyer as well. by the spring of 1970 one she teamed up with her husband and took on the appeal that is featured on the basis of sex movie -- featured in the basis of sex movie. read verses read decided in november of 1971 was the first case the supreme court had ever, in its entire history, struck down a law discriminating against women on the grounds that it violated the equal protection clause. four, by 1972 two things had changed in rbg's life. the first had to do with the
aclu. aclutting in 1970 the board altered its position on the equal rights amendment and how the equal protection's closet should apply to women. what the aclud tradition viewed as the special need of women's so-called protective laws. which limited the hours they could work the jobs they would be allowed to perform. the readfter rbg won case in december of 1971, the aclu board created a board to work for women's equality in the agreed to and rbg head it. the second thing that happened in 1972. by got hired with tenure convio all school, which should have hired her in the first place. she could spend half the time in the first year they are working with a women's right project in getting it off the ground.
to teach the course she had invented at rutgers, where her students not only studied the law, but worked on cases and legislation of current importance and interest that furthered women's equality. with one of my mentors of berkeley law school, and kim produce the first casebook on sex discrimination and the law and the united states. and as far as i can tell, in the world. her chapters were the ones on constitutional law and international comparative law. casework, isecond bye to mention this, herbertle] and ruth ann were very efficient.
i am proud to say that two of those authors have been on our faculty for many years. two also proud to say that of those authors also were among teachers that even proceeded rbg in teaching women in the law courses. they were among the very first pioneers who taught this. and barbara babcock, who taught atourse on the subject georgetown. was quite a contribution to the law school, even before people were thinking about it. participated in numerous cases, either in council in the decade of the 1970's.
she did this all while she was teaching and writing and giving speeches. she argued eight pages and lost only one, which she knew she was going to lose. her careful strategy earn her recognition as the thurgood marshall of the women's movement, and more than any other person in that decade, change the law of the land with respect to equality between men and women. this was her insight and guiding principle written by a law professor which will go nameless. which i found quoted in the new york times two days ago. "her litigation campaign succeeded in targeting pervasive legal framework that treated yang,as yen and men as and either rewarded them for their compliance or penalize them for deviation from it.
she saw that male and female were viewed in law and beyond as a natural duality, polar opposites, interconnected and interdependent by nature or by design. and she understood that she could not tied one half of a knot. essential.iffs were sex discrimination hurt both men and women. and both seemed to be liberated by ruth ginsburg's vision of equality." you might have heard, as i did, pleading, "hang on, ruthy, hang on." youou have not heard it, might want to hear it. i bet -- i believe if anybody could do it, she could. she tried her best to hang on. what a difference she has made
without one remarkable life she was given. -- with that one remarkable life she was given. >> thank you. >> thank you so much for the chance to be here and remember justicend and esteemed ruth bader ginsburg. justice ginsburg is so and was justly proud of her opinion in the united states versus virginia, the case that opened the military institute to women students. that was a case i was assigned to when i was an assistant to the facilitator general. it was my task to write for the
united states. , as the really hard principal deputy general himself was there. it was humbling to see how justice ginsburg to get to the next level. abouthave been written the virginia military institute opinion, and why it was important. i just want to highlight a few attributes. they really got at a key aspect of sex discrimination that had always and developicky advocates. it often was respectful and protective rather than nvidia's are based in -- rather than based in malice. orh women as our tenders
from being drafted to serve in the military, not out of disrespect, but out of a certain kind of respect. justice ginsburg, in the virginia military institute moved away from speaking in terms of equal sex-based, preventing laws that rested on stereo tapes -- stereotypes. it rested on over generalizations about what is appropriate for most women are most men. thoughtreotype people had to be something that you would not want apply to you. standarday she did the in this case was to point out an overgeneralization, a generalization that did not apply to the atypical woman who
or theto be a cadet, atypical man who wanted to be a nursing student at the university of mississippi. those were just as harmful. in terms of over generalizations and in terms of stereotypes she got away with this but focused on the inaccuracies in the way that it was infringing on the liberties of individuals. an invitation suggested in prior cases that, in the right case advocates should ask for strict scrutiny application. the solicitor general's office took up that publication and asked, at the same time saying that they did not get was would win thee
case on scrutiny, but that strict scrutiny was appropriate. oral argument became evident that the court had no interest scrutiny.to strict justice ginsburg, and crafting the opinion for the court, saying what she called skeptical scrutiny. and the way that it was defined, the kinds of justifications that would be inadequate was quite close to strict scrutiny. supported by conference and what she thought she could get support for, it both pushed the law, book only did it as far would support. i want to point out a couple of other things that characteristically was ruth bader ginsburg. one was the way she used fact and history to paint a detailed picture.
me this reflects -- she did not treat her colleagues as malevolent, and if they were disinclined to see the importance of the case, but she brought thembrght them along, se story with the detail, but would help people appreciate and understand a reality that they might never have experienced themselves. so she very concretely, and in it's detail, explained how uniqueness, it's courses and program and alumni collection -- connection, the very thing that made it a desired education, but the state did not provide anything that gave those unique chances to the women who wanted them. it was the detail of the context that allowed justice ginsburg to
explain why it mattered. power,ered because of and it mattered because of social meaning. shut theming of women out of vmi, and shut them out of a source of great power within business and political circles in virginia and beyond. and symbolically, the insult of the commonwealth refusing to extend that opportunity to women was a slight to all women. the opening of its stores was an assurance to all who believed that the categories of male and female should not over trail these things so that they would not be excluded from paths that should be given to them. we have seen her trademark work. cangoing only so far she with maximizing the opportunity to package the standard as the
skeptical scrutiny, that's as close as she could get to strict scrutiny. we see her resolving one of the key stub link -- key stumbling blocks of sex discrimination law and describing the context of the case with great historical and concrete detail. just droppednot from the sky, but it was a combination of some that have come before. it was only in recent years that justice ginsburg began to speak out more broadly to the nation, and to the ages, and to become the icon that she became. let's not distort our sense of who she was and what she did and how she lived out her first 80 years. as the other speakers
andioned, she had a long less notorious career before that. it was only recently that she had a chance to revel in the acclaim that she has had more publicly. looking tonow are justice ginsburg for inspiration. example.n incredible she's gone. and she's irreplaceable. blessed. hope in theces of arc of her life and career that we might carry forward. i was thinking about this especially because we are at the law school. how my people who are lawyers really to her legacy and think about this meaning for them. justice ginsburg was very much a
product of her time. and she had this disarming and modest way of painting herself deflecting her talents. but she was in the right place at the right time. to some extent that was true. she was a product of a moment in the nation's history when the women's movement was taking on new history. as she said, people will lodge incomplete, they were either too timid to make before or were sure they would lose. but in the 1970's they could become winners because there was land.it in the a growing understanding that the way things had been was not right and should be changed. lucky, she was in the right place at the right time, but she also was an incredibly astute observer.
she took how much she observed and help to give it a broader and lasting voice in the law. she provided the legal protection for which there was a broadly felt social need. so that is a legacy that you, the young lawyers and lawyers to be of the georgetown law community, can carry forward. some of the work that she mapped out remains to be done. there are other challenges that call out for justice. one of the ways that you can carry on her legacy is to be in the right place at the right rbg was, to develop legal responses that are not fully formed to real-world problems around us. how did she do it? how did she do it? another lesson that i would
commend to you is that she was an incrementalist. she took things very step-by-step. opinion wasus vmi the culmination of many, many decades of very gradual and painstaking work. her early cases she brought on behalf of men. at that time, almost all the judges on the lower courts, and certainly the justices in the supreme court were men. she used cases in which men were denied benefits. a male married to a female service member who would not get survivor and if it's that a female service -- that a female whose husband was a service member would get. on behalfbring these of men, in part recognizing that the male judiciary could identify more with those cases. how else did she do it?
she was incredibly inclusive. she was forever crediting the people who helped her, who worked with her, who supported shoulders sheose stood. a sweet example is a way in the virginia military institute, she goes on the court's opinion by , who was therer for a women's use of the -- university of mississippi and struct on the policy of the premiere nursing school in that state. she said vmi was the book and to the program. to the program. how, in the end, did she have the strength? this is one of the most moving things about this story of ruth bader ginsburg. her marriagelife,
to marty ginsberg. marty was a dear colleague of ours at georgetown law. knew him well. and famously, he was a great cook. i would repeatedly run into him at the checkout line at the grocery store. enough to boost ruth without needing to compete with her. without ever feeling diminished by her success. can we carry on the legacy of ruth bader ginsburg? whould say that all of you know a woman who could benefit from the kind of love and ,upport that marty gave to ruth ginsburgou to honor
by being for it those women their marty's. thank you. you for thinking in that powerful way about how we honor her legacy. thank you. our final speaker before we go to questions is professor harnett, who is also working on the biography of the justice. >> thank you, dean and colleagues. justice ginsburg so loved students. her students, our students, all students, which is why she gave you.ch time to them, for even during her busiest days she found time to meet with women's law fellows at georgetown, and to make a surprise visit to my seminar. i remember well when she was scheduled to appear in january
of 2017. on the day she was scheduled to appear we found out that president obama would be giving his ceremony to the nation. i emailed the justice and asked if she would like to reschedule. i received an email back from her, terrific, dedicated, --oted judicial official judicial assistant. she said, the justice would like to know, do you think it would be possible to watch the address from the classroom? -- do you think this didn't the students might like to stay after class and watch it with me? and we did. i would like to read to you some of justice ginsburg's own words over the years, giving advice to students, often towards tom law students. i would like to thank my super
research assistant for helping to pull these together. yes,tice ginsberg's words, we have a long way to go, but how far we have come. our country has gone through some bumpy periods. but i will tell you the principal reason why i am optimistic. see, my lawple i clerks are determined to contribute to the good of society, and to work together, so the young people make me hopeful. they want to take part in creating a better world. think of malala. berg inf greta thun sweden. i've put my faith in the coming generation. here atxt remarks georgetown. i can tell you everything i have done in the law, every job i have had has been richly rewarding.
opportunity to take a multitude of courses. i hope you thrive in that education, and that you come away from it with the knowledge that a true member of the legal profession has an obligation to give back to his or her community. you have a privilege, a monopoly on legal representation. because of that privilege you owe an obligation to help make things a little better -- to help make things a little better for people less fortunate than you. i hope you will think about things you care about. is it the environment? is it discrimination? is it the way we run our election? whatever it is, whatever your passion is, pursue that. i can tell you that i have gotten more satisfaction out of things i did for which i was not paid, than i did for most of my paid job. i wish you well.
this next is from a speech that the justice gave to students in paris. and as you leave here and , tryed along life's path to use the education you have received to help repair your community. take part in efforts to move those communities, urinatio -- your nation, and a world closer to make sure the health and well-being of your generation and generation following your own. this to students at the university of buffalo. true, we have not reached nirvana, but the progress i have seen in my lifetime makes me optimistic for the future. keephallenge is to make or
things we can tolerate or celebrate our differences while pulling together throughout the common good. -- justice also recounted to students the advice or father mrj for when she was deciding how to handle law with her excepted baby. he said, if you don't want to go to law school, no one will think less of you. at if you want to become lawyer, you will stop feeling sorry for yourself and find a way. justice ginsburg continued. just fallingt life that important turn in my life i asked myself, do i want this? and if i do, i tried to find a way. in closing justice ginsburg said, with vision and action we can join hands with others of withminds, kindling lights our paths leading out of the
>> thank you. what was so inspiring. let's bring our panelist forwards so we can ask questions of the office -- questions from the audience. normally when we are in the auditorium, i will read the questions from the students and i will ask them to stand. we cannot do that but i will read the students name. sarahrst question is from , class of 2022. questions for the clerk. ginsberge justice impressed upon you. was definitely big on working really hard and she would never expect more of us than she expected of herself. she gave us a very high bar to
meet. she was very focused on precision. you have to get everything right. and theit to the court lawyers. she was very clear on not wasting time and energy looking backwards on regrets. if you made a mistake, tried to do better next time. learn from your mistakes and move forward. she used her energy well. very good. amountarned and enormous about the craft of the law and how much it requires such
, and that hasail never left me. , it was nottime just in the service of technical proficiency. she had a humane vision that shaped the way she approached it be she believed we owe it to litigants and the law, to the .ourt, to get it right people have spoken, i think wendy in particular, about her attention to the facts. those were really important to her. these are humans who are trying under difficult circumstances, and she wanted to know exactly what was going on. aware insisted that we be
of every piece of material that could possibly be relevant in deciding the case. it is a remarkable combination of the justice of someone who was great at the legal craft but also had extraordinary gifts of empathy and concern, and deep values. i think when we reflect on her legacy, the combination is so powerful and it is a model we should all aspire to. one more question for the clerks, how did justice ginsberg shape your legal careers? ms. bernstein: totally transformed it. i remember toward the end of my
me, what, she said to do you plan on doing after the clerkship? i said i might go back to the council's office. i got the silent. -- the silence. then she said, i think that would be a waste. i just felt like, ok then. i guess i will not be doing that. i ended up going to the equal opportunity employment being involved in employment termination cases for the next several years. -- employment discrimination cases for the next several years. i would always approach a case and think, what would the judge want? how would the judge look at this? it is almost like when you are in therapy and your therapist is always in your head, when you
clerk for someone like justice ginsburg, she is in your head for life. most immediately, the year after i clerked with her, i worked for justice brennan on the supreme court and i was a much better clerk than i would have been had i not clerked with justice ginsburg. he really should have sent her a gift basket. [laughter] much, i feel, in rigoraft, the analytical and the consonant -- and the confidence, as much as anything else. term, that was one way in which she had a powerful current -- had a powerful effect on my career. all three of the clerk's that
year are in academic and now and she was -- in academia now and she was a wonderful example of how someone could be involved in academia and be engaged in the world at the same time. that really inspired me over the years. i attribute both of those wonderful gifts to her. clearly had such a profound impact on both of your lives. herink you are both part of legacy, as are so many of her clerks. mr. regan: one of my wonderful later clerked for the justice. so i guess that makes her a grand clerk, i am not sure. ann -- ruth -- with
listening. she is it was a wonderful ceremony. i feel like she continued to influence my life and those after me. >> that is terrific. professoruestion from robin who joined our faculty. can you discuss the justice's howions involving race and her stance on gender might have been that and vice versa? you are on mute. >> sorry. [laughter] that is a great question. think she things i really had a deep appreciation was the symbolic harms of
differentormal treatment of people based on sex and grace. of good reasons, the courts have been demanding in terms of the kind of harms they are willing to remedy. but i always had the feeling with her opinion on sex and race she really understood the emotional harm, the cultural harm that are nonetheless really profound and affecting. up in both ofhows those areas. said,think as others have
she was a person of great just as she encouraged men to see the equal protection sex project as their project, i do not think she thought of the project of seeking quality for people of all races as per project. -- as her project. those are some of the ways i would say there is some cross-pollination in her view. >> wendy, you are nodding. and then mary. one of the justices favorite oneches she gave repeatedly the issue of human dignity, she had a broadvision of equal
justice and racial equality. gave on brownshe versus the board of education she said that brown and the forerunners along with the movement for international human -- in which she was engaged in the 1970's. thurgood marshall and his saw it step-by-step about the pernicious effects of andal discrimination advocates for gender equality follow the path. surehe also wanted to make people understood there were differences. was often referred to as the thurgood marshall of the women's right movement but she wanted to
make them wait -- make the point that some things were different she never felt her colleagues lives were in danger because of their advocacy and haveknew they would not trouble finding a combination [inaudible] >> professor wendy williams? williams: the question of opinions dok her speak for themselves in the important way nina was talking about, and everybody can actually. her dealing with the human facts ofeach individual person one
-- individual person. things she said in the case of sex discrimination, and i am sure it applies people should be a .ree to be you and me as individuals we should be free to make our choices. it should not be because someone is deciding to label this one thing or another because of who or what our sexual orientation is or whatever. she did liveng is her convictions. long before the case is here, in which the lgbt group discrimination is included in with sex discrimination, she was for peoplemarriages
who were gay or lesbian. that five or six times. she never made a big thing of it. she just did it. to me, that speaks volumes. ask, this is for the panel. this question was asked most frequently. it was asked by several. ask, how can law honorts and young lawyers justice ginsburg's legacy? i am not sure how
i wanthave to add except to honor her but also bring her .own to earth she listened to what was needed way ittime and in a started very modestly. she found a way to respond to the need. and when you get to know her or become aware of her at the pinnacle of her career, in her 80's, confident and renowned, it is hard to really appreciate that she started just where you are. [laughter] there is so much need. whatever your passions are, the method she had of learning about an issue, of absorbing it
hard.mpathy, working very they are methods that are available to all of us. and she has always been a formidable character as a very hard worker but she is also someone who love to work -- loved her work. it was not an impression of her to work that hard. she surrounded herself with people she cared about and expressed her care and generosity for her clerks. she knows people have human needs, to be in families. but she just enjoyed what she did and if you can find something in the law that you enjoy that much and find people who will bolster you, it is
incredibly sustaining. in one of the things education from a place like georgetown gives you is some findes and some ability to a place that meets the needs and allows you to have a on issues you care about. >> anything you would like to add? those who i think for may have only known her as the notorious rbg, it is hard to that would seem to those of us who knew her earlier. she was not flashy. she was a grinder. [laughter] work.d the hard the unglamorous work. she read the records line by
line. i think nina said it well in that she genuinely loved what she did. and i think perhaps she may have also appreciated that she had been giving an opportunity -- had been given an opportunity that perhaps growing up she thought she would never have and she was not going to waste it. she saw it as a privilege. i would say for students who have been able to come to , that is not study a bad approach to take. whatever you end up doing, do not squander the opportunities you have. figure out what it is you care about. you canut ways in which further what is important. my god, take it seriously. she certainly did.
that was an essential part of why she was able to accomplish what she did. >> is almost like hamilton in the musical. to haved have loved been in hamilton, i am sure. her inwhen rebecca asked an interview she did at the court, if you had not been a lawyer, what would you have done. and she said, i would have loved to have been a soprano, but i did not have the talent. she did not waste her shot. [laughter] wendy, same question. ms. williams: just a last shot about what -- a last thought about what motivated her. she had some great losses growing up. her sister died.
when ruth was a baby, her sister who was six years old died. there was a lot of grief and her family for a long time and then her mother got cancer when she was going into high school and died one day before her graduation from high school. participate as she had been going to do in presentations in the graduation. years, mother, for four she justher mother, developed this enormous sense of respect for her mother's courage and strength. and she also felt, having watched her mother and father in wason, that her mother very, very bright and never had a chance to make a life of it.
she was a bookkeeper. , she should have been a supreme court justice. so for ruth, there was a pain and commitment to make sure that she lived the life that her mother would have wanted to live. and i think that is a driving. mary, do you agree with that? ms. hartnett: of course. on the i would add advice for students of what they , there is the big picture level and the daily level. because that is how she ended up achieving so much. .o i would echo her words career tot use your
further the economic position of your family. having something that matters, that will make things better for those who follow. her, that was gender equality. -- for her, that was gender equality. or you, it might be something different. everyone is not ruth bader ginsburg, and that is ok. level, reach out and try to make someone's life a little better and be kind and thoughtful. and tried to do a small thing each day -- and try to do a small thing each day. mr. regan: i think that is one of the things -- >> i think that is one of the things i have heard from many of you, her recognition that increment
matters. we saw this in her philosophy of life and jurisprudence. mary put it well that she is someone who was so transformable but she also recognized that little things matter. she was so committed to doing things that open up doors for people and getting them the chance. when she spoke at the rose garden when she was nominated by president clinton and she talked about her mother, would you talk a little bit about the reference, which was so moving and powerful? said that sheshe , whotted that her mother
was taken from her too soon, cannot see her joining the supreme court. up actually, clinton teared in that moment and somebody who , theywent on fox news opened it for questions and this person said something like, well, president clinton, what took you so long and why did you keep changing your mind about who you would pick? and he ended the conference, he said, if you can say that after , and then heher turned around, took her, and marched off. it was the end. could i read that quote? it is so moving.
i have a last thank you. it is to my mother. the bravest, strongest person i have known who was taken from me much too soon. i pray i may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age where women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons. mr. regan: so powerful. every time i hear it, i tear up. >> you and president clinton. [laughter] >> any final reflection of her legacy? >> i would say for students, even though justice ginsburg was a tireless worker and took her work very seriously and was very devoted to it, she had a lot of joy in her life. she took tremendous pleasure in music, especially opera, and she
traveled the world. andmarried her soulmate they had a lifelong love affair. yes, yourld say is work is important and you should takee yourself to it, but time to enjoy life. there is more to life than just working and just being a lawyer. ands also enjoying the arts finding a soulmate and traveling the world. is such a that beautiful way to end it. she is someone who in every way lived her life and all. -- life in the full. she had a passion for the law. loved the law, her family, the arts.
in every way, a model for us. . want to thank you all really inspiring comments. end, sheike, before we meant so much to me and i would just like to say a few words, my own reflection on what she meant and what we can learn from her in this difficult time. sincet a lot of time friday thinking about her legacy. advocate, a supreme court justice, and a teacher. , most of the tributes focus on her career on the court and as an advocate, but before she was either of those, she was a teacher.
she taught at rutgers and columbia. even after she went on the bench, she remained a teacher. benefited fromn her commitment to teaching the next generation. she was so dedicated to it. i was so struck always by her commitment to the next generation and how generous she was at the time. we were looking back and i think she spoke at georgetown at least 25 times. in theke four times months before the pandemic. it was amazing and reflected her commitment to the next generation. so in thinking about what she thought backus, i to a time 10 years ago, right after i arrived at georgetown.
ginsburg,ived, marty such a beloved member of this community, a great academic, just an amazing person. he had just passed away. and i went with justice to his office. and i walked in. i was struck. marty's office did not look like a typical faculty office. a typical office is very businesslike. what i was struck by in marty's office was all of the pictures of the justice. everywhere in that office were pictures of her at every stage of her career. i always thought of her as a jurist, a powerful advocate for
change, but walking into his office with the justice, what struck me so powerfully was the special bond between them, and the great love they had for each other. when she appeared at the law school, when she talked to our students, what she shared with powerfully that personal side. she spoke of her cases in the court, she talked about her work as an advocate, she did it brilliantly and no one could have done it better. but over the years, i have had the privilege of talking to many leaders of the bench and bar before the students and asking questions and being parts of conversations. none of the conversations were like the ones with her. and were uniquely personal
focused on helping guide our students for life after law school. it was amazing. the jesuit educational philosophy seeks to educate the whole person. that is the poor principal. -- the core principle. that is what she did. i have heard from so many of you the personal, when she talks to her students, she talked about losses she has suffered and the challenges she faced. she talked of her mother's death days before she ended high school. cancerked about marty's when they were both in law school and they had a young child. she talked about the discrimination she faced,
despite the fact that she was top of her class at harvard and columbia, that no law firm would hire her. handalked about that judge , who she idolized, were not considered for clerkship because she was a woman because he wanted to swear in his office and he would not feel comfortable swearing in front of the woman. she spoke of her battles with cancer. she talked about the bias against women's right that she encountered when she was advocating before the court. it was so personal. family,also talked of the importance of family to her. her children, grandchildren, great-grandchild. , sheshe talked about marty glowed. she also talked about the importance of friendship.
i will never forget after justice scalia died, she delivered a very moving tribute and talked about the friendship. she always said, we always disagree but our disagreements made me a better justice. casealked about the vmi and how his descent and responding to his fiddr -- his dissent made her argument much better. to always said, it is ok disagree, but it is not ok to be disagreeable. she talked about the importance of relationships. fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. she talked about the importance of health. she talked about her famous
exercise routine. we have more than 600 students watching this and everybody knows she could do 20 push-ups. and as most important, we talk about her legacy, she talked about the importance of fighting for what you believe in. she also talked about recognizing that there will be shees along the way, but always talked about her faith in the future. she told one lawyer that the lawyer might not ever understand the depth of the impact of her work but when she got tired and frustrated, she should remember that what she was doing was progressing forward. even in the darkest of times, even as she recognized the difficulties she confronted, justice ginsburg had unshakable
faith in the future. i will never forget that when she was asked how she handled marty's cancer when they were , ih in law school, she said never thought it would not be ok. you, i have cried a lot past few days. and it is so hard to think she is gone. it is hard for me to think i will never again have the chance to learn from her. i will miss being able to walk with her into the auditorium and see hundreds of law students, many of them wearing notorious rbg t-shirts, their faces glowing, wildly applauding when they saw their hero. this time of loss, it is important to reflect on what she
taught us. andimportance of friendship of cherishing those we love. the importance of fighting for what we believe in, the recognition that there will be , but the and setbacks importance of having faith in the future and the belief that that faith will ultimately be justified. i never thought it wouldn't be ok, she said. real.nges are losses are inevitable. justicehould learn from ginsberg that faith in the future will sustain us and that that faith will be rewarded.
thank you, justice ginsburg. good night. >> there will be several chances this week to honor the late justice ginsberg. wednesday and thursday, her casket will be outside the supreme court for the public to pay their respects. theay, she will become first woman ever to lie in state at the u.s. capitol. that occurs before a private ceremony is held next week at arlington national summit torrey, where she will be laid --rest with her late husband arlington national cemetery where she will be laid to rest with her late husband. theynate republicans say will move forward with naming a replacement for the supreme court. mitch mcconnell spoke about his intentions from the senate floor shortly after paying tribute to the life and legacy of justi