Friday, September 20, 2013
Courts - Justice Ginsburg celebrates 20 years on the SCOTUS with a speaking tour around county
Beckley Law has a lengthy story by Susan Gluss headed "US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Captivates Berkeley Law." It begins:
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, considered the “Thurgood Marshall” of the women’s rights movement, addressed a packed house of Berkeley Law students, faculty, and staff this week. As the diminutive Justice walked to the podium, the crowd erupted into thunderous applause. The event was held just blocks from the law school at the First Congregational Church to accommodate the capacity crowd of 600.The story also describes Ginsburg's visits to the two civil procedure classes taught separately by two of her former clerks.
Ginsburg’s visit coincided with a personal milestone: 20 years on the High Court. During the past two decades of the Court’s conservative dominance, she’s become a leading dissenter. She talked about some of the more contested rulings of the 2012-2013 session, among others, often quoting from her own dissents.
Ginsburg discussed affirmative action, voting rights, employment discrimination, and same-sex marriage (the Justice was the first to officiate a same-sex wedding in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago).
During this term, the Court struck down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It was a decision Ginsburg called “profoundly misguided.” She noted that, in 2006, Congress voted to re-authorize the act by an overwhelming majority, giving “voice to every voter in our democracy.”
Ginsburg criticized the Court, citing subtler modern-day forms of voter discrimination, such as newly restrictive polling hours and inconvenient locations. She quoted civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in her dissent:
“The great man who led the march from Selma to Montgomery, and there called for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, foresaw progress, even in Alabama. ‘The arc of the moral universe is long,’ he said, but ‘it bends toward justice,’ if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.”
Clearly frustrated, Ginsburg leaned toward her microphone asked the rapt crowd, “What has become of the Court’s usual restraint?”
With her tortoiseshell glasses, gentle demeanor, and quavering voice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg projects the quintessence of judicial demeanor and focused academic intensity.
Yet when she slowly, and it seemed carefully, entered the second-floor auditorium of the National Constitution Center on Sept. 6 for a talk about the modern Supreme Court and its discontents, the 800 or more spectators in attendance greeted her like a rock star.
They whooped with shouts of approval and encouragement as she took the stage - an infrequent reception for a cloistered and composed associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 20, 2013 09:33 AM
Posted to Courts in general