"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Happy 76th Birthday RBG
Some highlights from her Wikipedia bio:
Born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn, New York, the second daughter of Nathan and Celia Bader. Ginsburg's older sister died when she was very young.
Ginsburg's mother called her "Kiki" (which her father found objectionable) and took an active role in Ruth's education, taking her to the library often and applying for scholarships that would allow her to attend college. Celia struggled with cancer throughout Ruth's high school years and died the day before graduation.
She married Martin D. Ginsburg (later a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and an internationally prominent tax lawyer) in 1954, and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James.
Ginsburg received her B.A. from Cornell University in 1954 and attended Harvard Law School (before moving on to Columbia). Her husband, upon graduating from HLS accepted a job in New York City and she transferred to Columbia Law School, where she won a spot on the law review, becoming the only person ever to have been on law review at both Harvard and Columbia; she earned her LL.B. degree at Columbia, where she graduated not only first in her class but with the highest grades in the history of the law school, a trait she shares with Justice Stevens (who graduated with the highest grades in the history of Northwestern's law school). She finally accepted an offer to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959-1961. From 1961-1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure, for which she learned Norwegian and Swedish in several months and became an intellectual leader in civil procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963-1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972-1980, where she became the first ever woman to earn tenure and authored the first law book ever to be written on gender equality law and served as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford University, California from 1977-1978. She served as the chief litigator of the ACLU's women's rights project and argued in front of the Supreme Court numerous times, winning cases that reversed centuries of Court precedent that reinforced gender inequity and attaining a reputation as an extremely skilled oral advocate and equality litigator. After nominating her to the Supreme Court, President Clinton referred to her as the "Thurgood Marshall" of the women's movement.
And this excerpt from one of her dissenting opinions back in 2000:
'The Court assumes that time will not permit “orderly judicial review of any disputed matters that might arise.” ... But no one has doubted the good faith and diligence with which Florida election officials, attorneys for all sides of this controversy, and the courts of law have performed their duties. Notably, the Florida Supreme Court has produced two substantial opinions within 29 hours of oral argument. In sum, the Court’s conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the Court’s own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the Presidency of the United States.