tv Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Discusses My Own Words CSPAN November 25, 2016 1:00pm-2:16pm EST
other than that, we don't hear as much about that special idea of non- violence which is leading our enemy and to hear lewis talk about that even when they are cracking his goal, that is really powerful in terms of his history in the world? host: so many of the people who were beaten or spat upon years ago have received apologies now from those still living and there has been so much reconciliation and i saw the similar thing happen in south
africa. contrast of america now because at a time when politics have probably ever been more divided than now and hostility between people of different beliefs and there is still that lights out there the darkness where people like john lewis carreon. >> we talked about reconciliation, i mean, george wallace before he died went on a reconciliation to her and made a strong catch a going back to african-american pastors insane help fix what i have done. host: john, i thank you very much once again. the book is wonderful. it's a great collection of memories and stories that can give us all guidance and reassurance with this crazy election season. guest: thank you. it was really fun.
host: my pleasure. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's tape-- cable television companies and brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. welcome. my name is louise welby, president of the national capital region and i welcome you today on behalf of the
chapter. i think i can speak for everyone here about how exactly excited and honored it we are tono have justice ruth bader ginsburg and former solicitor general ted olson here with us todayit ,. [applause]. >> i also want to thank so much james williams, who is a former member of our board of directors, jim of the lot who is our vp for, our executive director for all the work theyr have put into thisave put event. they deserve a round of applause. [applause]. ant to t >> so, without i want to turn things over to james and he will do the introductions.s. ahe thank you. >> thank you for those very kind words. it's a tremendous honor to be here today to
introduce our guests and it's always difficult when we have guests of this caliber to find the right words in terms of describing them. there are a few that come to mind. dedicated, principled, dynamic, engaging, brilliant, thought leaders, pioneers. what has been most personally inspiring for me is the role of civil rights leaders, whether it's the fight for racial or gender equality or marriage equality or freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation, both ted and justice ginsburgt are have across all these fronts and our country continues to honor its promise of equal justice for all. justice ginsburg was nominated by president clinton as a associate justice of the supreme court taking her seat in 1993.
prior to her appointment she served from and 1980 mac 1983 on the bench of the united states court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit and before her apartment to the bench she was professor of lot records law school. also at columbia law school from 1972 until 1980. she has also served on the faculties of the south park seminar ofe american studies at thee aspen institute and is a visiting professor at many universities in theit us and abroad. in 1978, she was a fellow at the center for advanced study and behavioral scientist in stanford california. 1972, then she was instrumental in launching the women's rights project of the civil-- civil liberties union, so her commitment goes back many decades. lastly, but not least she has the distinctionty of having the best nickname in the history of any supreme court justice, about notorious
rpg. ted olson is a partner in the washington dc office. ted was solicitor general of the united states during 2001 through 2004 and from 1981 until 1984 he was assistant attorney general in charge of the office of legal counsel used a part legal justice and has argued 62 cases before the supreme court and has prevailed in over 75%. lets me say that again,ai 75% of those arguments, remarkable achievement. his cases have involved separation of powers, federalism, voting rights, the first amended, equal protection and due process, sentencing, jury rights, punitive damages, commerce clause , telecommunications, 2000 c presidential election and i think we all remember that one. bush versus gore. campaign finance, same
sex marriage, again a civil rights pioneer and other federal constitutional questions i am grateful for all they have done. at the end of that chat justice ginsburg and ted will take a few questions from the audience. without further ado justice ruth bader ginsburg and ted olson. [applause]. >> thank you, james. thank you, luis.imagin you can imagine what a pleasure it is-- excuse me? >> is the microphone working? >> can you hear me? i think someone is in the way the camera, so you can imagine what a pleasure it is for me, and advocate, to be able to ask questions of a supreme court justice. [laughter] >> however, i suspect
you will hear her turn the tables on me very soon after we got started. at the risk of repeating a couple of things that james is said about justice ginsburg, i wanted to add a word or two of my own before we start our dialogue.be i don't know where the fireplaces.. i think it's behind. as james, i'm sure feltducing the toughest thing about introducing someone like justice ginsburg is that it's tempting to say either too much because she has accomplished so much and led such a distinguished life in our society and our culture or too little because you already know who she is and what she has done and you are here to hear from her and not from me, but i can't resist the opportunity to say a couple words about this woman, this remarkable woman, without remarkable career and the life that we all admire. i understood this event sold out in one hour 15
minutes.in that's a tribute to the fact that people have such a great respect for you, justice ginsburg. if i was limited to five years-- words a couple came up in james' introduction and i was a pioneer, commitment, courage, passion and to me most of all warrior.arrior i would like to explain that. justice ginsburg grew up in brooklyn. older sister died when she was six, her mother struggled with cancerer throughout justice ginsburg's high school your and passed to the way before her graduation. a very daunting beginning for her. she attended cornelle university, was elected to phi beta kappa and elected first among the women in her class.oo then, harvard law school , one of nine women in a class of 500. when her fellow student and husband marty ginsburg whom she met on a blind date with diagnosed with cancer
she attended class for both of them, took notes, typed her husband's. papers and cared forr him and their infant daughter. when he recovered and took a job in new york city she transferred to columbia law school and became the first woman to be elected to two major log reviews, columbia and howard. i saw the picture in the book of the rpg book i will mention any moments two women out of 60 on the harvard law review and they have your picture equally balanced with the two women theream among these 60 men. graduated first in her class at claudia. was turned down for a united states supreme court clerkship because by justice felix frankfurter because as the "new york times" reported she was a womanti if she was discouraged, she remained undaunted
and is a professor the second woman to join the law faculty at records she founded the women's rights law reporter and later chaired the civilared the women's rights project and became the first professor female atsc claudia law school where she authored a book on judicial procedure in a sweden after mastering swedish. [laughter] >> somewhere early ine our relationship she saw the name olson and she thought maybe that might be swedish and she asked if i could speak swedish and i had to point out that i was norwegian and did not speak swedish warrant norwegian. she later transferredral the swedish code of civil procedure into english. now, civil procedure is tough enough, but in swedish? as an advocate for women's rights and gender equality she change the world. she personally argued six cases in the supreme
court, winning all but one and one a summary reversal in another case without even an argument. of the cases she won started an avalanche for gender equality. justice ginsburg served for 14 years on the dc circuit, was the second woman after sandra day o'connor appointed to the supreme court o'connopo replacing justice byron white and is now the most senior of three male female justices on the court. just a word or two more. she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. she missed zero days on the bench. in 2005, she was diagnosed and underwentrw surgery for pancreatic cancer. 12 days after that surgery, she was again back in court hearing arguments. her husband for over 55 years, martin ginsburg, internationally
respected professor diedsp in 2010. she was back in court the next day. just as he would have wanted. w you will find out today that justice ginsburg has a wicked mischievous sense of humor, so be careful. as i can tell you fromte personal experience ier had cases while she was on the bench and she is as well prepared or better prepared than any juror i have ever experienced and is often the first justice to break the ice and ask those questions that are penetrating, focused andnd tough and as an advocate very intimidating. so, wanted to say those few words about you because i did have the opportunity to do this and i thought we would start off with-- there was about to be published or is being published and you canor tell us the date. >> october 4.
>> october 4. who's paying attention; right?ho is pa this beautiful book, "my own words", which has excerpts of justice ginsburg's speeches, speeches about her, things about marty ginsburg and other things like that with a beautiful cover and beautiful pictures in it and i will ask you to tell me a bit about or tell us a little bit about the book, but first of all i have to do what james of did with the other book which is really fun is the "notorious rbg", which is a fabulous book with all kinds of fun stuff it it and little lessons about how to be ruth gator bins-- ruth bader ginsburg. you are nikon. what justice on the supreme court is named j after a wrapper? my wife pointed out on the way here thatth
baskin-robbins was wanting to name an ice cream-- wasn't that it? >> ben & jerry's. >> ben & jerry's. i get the ice cream makes that.ll i will eat any of it. they wanted to name an ice cream ruth bader ginger. i heard something about a praying mantis. >> it is absolutely true.true >> tell me about that.. >> a praying mantis is named after me. [laughter] >> does this praying mantis do things that other praying mantis is due? >> the pictures i have seen looks like it's wearing a collar. has that-- how was that? >> tell us about this book, "my own words". tell us about how he came to be what's in it.
>> this book was originally planned to come out after myofascial biography. i have two official biographies who chose the speeches and articles in the book. they started writing about me and 2003, and it's still a work in progress. so, i said let's skip the order into the articles and speechess first. this was done with my writings and ann introduction to each section by mary hartnett and wendy williams, michael fishel biographers. they came to me in 2003 and a satellite or not people will write aboutar you, so you might as well select people you trust and we volunteer. >> so, you still trust
them? >> some of the introductions are veryry good. they are both very good. >> i saw in one of them, h can't remember which book, but the advice you got from your future mother-in-law about marriage. >> from marty's mother, yes. it was the best advice i ever received. we were married in his home and his mother took me aside and said, dear, i would like to tell you the secrets of a happy marriage. and the secret was, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf. [laughter] >> with that she handed me a pair of earplugs, which were the best
earplugs. that advice i followed through 56 years of a wonderful marriage and in every workplace e including my current job if something thoughtless is said you just tune out. >> works in the supreme court? >> yes, it does for me. >> what is it like to be such an icon of that-- what is it mean to youwhat doe that people know who you are, the notorious rbg. there's an opera named after un justice scalia and all of these things, what is that mean to you is it awkward or do you enjoy it? >> i think it's amazing. i am 83 and everyone wants to take a picture with me. [laughter]
>> this notorious rbg is the creation of a secondary law student at nyu, now graduated and it started when theen court announced the decision in the shelby county case that declared unconstitutional part of the voting rights acts of 1965.t of 195 this student was a displeased, angry and then she said, well, i heard from someone i admire that anger, these are useless emotions. they don't advance anything, so best to do something positive and something positive was to put my dissent in the
shelby county case on w this tumbler and then it took off into the wild blue yonder from their.rom th when my law clerk heard about this tumbler they said do you know where notorious rbg comes from comes and i said of course i do. the notorious rbg and i were both born and bred in brooklyn new york. [laughter] >> have you thought of writing any of your dissenting opinions in wrath? [laughter] >> they are doing it on broadway now. well, it's so much fun that i had to talk about the opera. you are a great lover of the opera, shakespeare and we are spending a bit of time today
talking about some of these things becausengey they are such fun things your relationship with justice scalia, a lot ofof people are mystified by that because you are on somewhat up with-- opposite ends. you served together and dc circuit and wound up often on opposite sides of cases decided by the supreme court, sometimes justice scalia wrote in such a powerful fashion and would be pretty harsh and language andwe yet you were great friends. how did that happen? why were you such great friends and what does that tell us about lifee on the court? >> it should not have been surprising to people who watched the court. s they should they would've known that justice scalia wasice sc exceedingly fond of justice brennan who was
also on the opposite side in many cases and justice of brennan usually enjoyed justice scalia's company as i did. he has on extraordinary ability to make you smile, even laugh. when we were on the dc circuit together with a three-judge panel and justice scalia would whisper something to me and just break me up and it was all i could do too avoid laughing out loud. i would sometimes pinch myself. people sometimes would say what was your favorite scalia joke and i said i know what it is, but i can't tell you.w [laughter] >> it was such fun at the washington national
opera with him twice and to be part of this scalia ginsberg, so some of my feminist friends say why is it ginsberg scalia and does ted knows very well seniority is very important in my workplace and scalia, although he was three years younger, he was appointed to the court many years before i was and that's why it is scalia ginsberg and it's a comic opera, as you would expect. comic o it had its world premiere in castleton, virginia, last summer and will have its next production at the opera festival in cooperstown, new york. if you are interested you can go to the baseball hall of fame and then go that evening to school he had
ginsberg but, to-- oh, i should tell you how it came to be. very talented young man, derick way, a music major, has a masters in music and then decideds he would be useful to learn a little bit about the law, so he enrolled in his hometown law school, university of maryland. he's taking a constitutional law course and he's reading these dueling opinions, scalia ginsberg and he said, this could make a very funny opera. i will give you just a taste of the opening pieces. so, it starts out with scalia's rage, which goes like this, that justice aligned, how can they possibly, the
constitution saidtion absolutely nothing about this and then i explained to him as he is searching for bright line solutions. the great thing about our constitution is that like our society, it can evolve, so that's that set up. the plot is roughly based on the magic. justice scalia is locked up in a dark room the punished for excessive dissenting. [laughter]hed fo >> and i come to help him out. i enter through a glass ceiling. [laughter] >> then, as in the magic flute, i join him for the last trial and we sing a duet.
we are different, we are one. different in our approach to the interpretation, but onef lega in fondness for each other, our reverence for the constitution and the institution we serve. >> and at that friendship and their relationship and tells ath us about how maybe we all could learn from that that our relationships with people who have different perspectives. justice scalia was fond of saying that you made his opinions better because he would run them by you. correct me if i'm wrong, and you would point out the various old abilities or weaknesses in his opinion and he would go back andd sharpen his words and he said your participation-- because he did this when you are together on the dc
circuit.t. you exchanged opinions and he resected your intelligence so much that he wanted to run them by you. >> i would say i was the beneficiary of that relationship more than he was. when i wrote an opinion and scalia wrote a dissent he identified all of the soft spots, so every opinion of mine of with scalia dissent is much better than the first draft. he was also an excellent remarrying and sometimes he would call me whether we were on the same side or not the point out that a slip that i had made in grammar. sometimes i would call him and say, why don't you tone it down. at this is so strong that you are going to lose your audience and you would be more
effective if you just put down a decibel level your close of the time he did not listen to me. [laughter] >> i could tell by reading some of his dissenting opinions, particularly. there's a difference between when you haveso direct the court and when he write a dissenting opinion and you explain that to me of the day. obviously he did not temper some of the language and i am thinking of the marriage equality case, the two cases and so forth. >> you could also bring up one of the 25%, the vmi case. that was azinger of a defense. >> let's talk about that one. i had forgotten about that case.e. [laughter] >> i argued that case for the virginia military institute. i represented the commonwealth of virginia
and vmi was an all-male institution, part of the university of virginia system and was relatively small component of the systemit and it was adversarial-- understated system is what they called itcalled i because there is a three that some young men pay to be at an all-male environment to get the preparing's and so on. >> to get through the rat line. >> so the challenge one -- was that it violates the equal protection clause because women were denied admission to vmi and i argued that case and it was a seven-one decision. i got one vote. >> just one. i had six people, the chief concurred in the judgment. . ..
do any more than that. >> i was just telling a story about the aftermath of the vmi case. i had a letter from ibm i graduate saying that in his life he had met many women who were at least as tough as he was. he had a teenage daughter she could have the opportunitye if she wanted it to attend vmi, and then i heard from him some six months later, i have the letter where i can see it every time i wanted to be lifted up. in the letter had some tissue
paper. i opened the paper and it looks like a toy soldier. it was a pin. it said this is a pin, it's given to the mother of every vmi graduate, at the graduation ceremony. my mother died last month. i think she would want you to have her keep in because in some way you are grandmother to the future generation of vmi students. [applause] incidentally, i was there in february. >> that sort of takes us to, what a beautiful story, it takes us to the fact that you were such a pioneer.
not every justice on the supreme court has argued cases in front of the supreme court. john roberts, i think he argued 39. you are representing the aclu and you were one of the earliest people to bring these cases about gender equality, challenging federal statutes particularly that denied equal rights to women. >> warm and.d. >> that's right. >> tell us, what was that like arguing those cases? you are a bit alone. when we were talking the otherta day, it reminded me of justice thurgood marshall who was with the naacp arguing cases. you pointed out, what you say the difference and then segue
into what it was like for you. >> i copied the strategy, and that is he developed. [inaudible] you probably remember the first and that series when texas saturday couldn't deny admission to law school to african-american simply because of their race. they set up a separate law for school for them. thurgood marshall argued separate but equal. this was felt so plainly as unequal.that c
it's not easy when people make that comparison because it's a huge difference in that thurgood marshall's life was in danger and he went to a southern town to represent someone. my advocacy was a challenge, but my life was never in danger. another difference is people understood that racial discrimination was odious. i was arguing cases, endeavoring to strike down arbitrary gender lines in the law. they were arguing and had a hard time getting it because they thought of themselves as good husband, good fathers and they
thought women were on a pedestal all too often, the pedestal turns out to be a cage that protects women from achieving whatever they could based on our god-given talent. getting judges to understand that discrimination was bad for the society bad for women and bad for men and bad for children none of the cases in which i
represented, none of those cases were test cases. these were everyday people which is how we, the first one, women from boise idaho we were caring for disabled people in their home and they had a young son and were given custody of the boy when he was of tender years. father has custody saying now he needs to be prepared for man's world she was custodian when she was unsuccessful. the boy one day, he was in a severe depression and he took
out one of his father's guns and committed suicide. sally wanted to be appointed administrator of his estate. the court judge said, i'm sorry but this is what the idaho law says. it determines whether people are equally entitled. males must be preferred to females. the great thing is she to get on her own time through three levels of the idaho courts. i didn't get involved until there was an appeal to the supreme court. this was an everyday woman who had so much faith in our legal system so that she could write
what she conceived to be an obvious injustice. [inaudible] in the air force, her husband didn't have access to the medical and dental facilities on base, or a man his wife died in childbirth so he was left as sole surviving parent. it was those social security benefits when a child is left in the care of a sole surviving parent if she is female.iv not if she, he is male. they found two that thought that was an obvious injustice, and believed that we have a legal
system where people can be heard >> you think that the nature of those cases help you be successful, because so many cases had come before where similar issues had been raised and they were just essentially dismissed, back of the hand kind of thing? you changed, you had to change the culture as well as the law. i'm wondering, was at the nature of those cases plus your advocacy of course, how do you think the, were not there completely of course, but it's a different world. when people think about these cases, they think of course, but, but you make a big huge change. >> i was there at the right time they had been making the same
arguments as we just pointed out, but it was before society was ready to listen. there were cases in the not so good old days, there was a woman who owned a tavern, hurt daughter was a bartender. you have to be mailed to ten bar unless your husband or father i the owner of the establishment. that puts these two women out of work and they made light about it. they would call her a battered woman. one day her husband humiliated her to the breaking point. she took her son's baseball bat and hit him over the head. there was an argument which was
the beginning of a murder prosecution. [inaudible] it was in 1961. over the decade of the 70s there was one case over another in which gender lines were struck down. why had that happen? not because of me. it was because of society had changed. society was moving and of course our reactive institutions don't lead the way, but they can perhaps accelerate the direction of change. it was the first case you read in 1971.
there was a whole series of cases that the court saw the light. the statute book into the 70s had a certain vision of the way women are and the way men are. the men were the breadwinners in the women's domain was the home and raising children. if you didn't fit that mold. [inaudible] in the ten years from 61 until 71, it was an enormous change. people were ordering their lives and i can illustrate that by comparing my children who are ten years apart.
my daughter was born in 1955, just before i started law school she was four when i graduated and there are very few working moms and her kindergarten class. ten years later, when my son was born in 1965, two working parents were no longer unusual so there are many people in his class where the mother and father had a paid job. so many things worked in that direction. for one thing, one very important fact, people live nowadays much longer than they once did. there was a time when a woman had her last child, she didn't didn't have that much left.
but now, and for many years now, when men are spending most of their adult life in a household that doesn't have any childcare responsibilities. what are they going to do with those empty nest years. that was one factor. in inflation was another. the children could go to college and be able to pay their tuition , then you need two incomes. by this time, all over the world, sums countries were ahead of us, but the united nations had declared international
women's year so all these things were working and people were living in patterns that were not traditional. the court was catching up to what had already occurred in society.at chang >> catching up, but also making it happen. i think you would agree, there was a synergistic effect here that because you brought those cases, because of your leadership and who you are and what you're doing, doing, people would read about those cases. then they would see, as you are explaining, the injustice of it and how it was unfair and those things take a life of their own so to speak because each thing makes it a little bit easier for the next thing and i was going to take that right into that you are the fourth woman to be appointed to the supreme court. >> second woman, but the fourth
that has been appointed to the court. i misspoke but what i was thinking was justice o'connor. tell us a little bit about her and what it meant in 1981 when ronald reagan appointed her as the first woman to be appointed to the supreme court. what was it like for her, what did it mean to what came along after? t >> the appointment of sandra day o'connor is in part the result of the effort of president carter. president carter took office, he looked around at the bench and observed that they don't look like me, but that's not how the
united states look. he was determined to put women d and members of minority groups in numbers in the federal court. not as one of the time curiosities, but in numbers. i was one of the lucky 11 that he appointed. he appointed at least 25 through district courts. no president ever went back to the way it once was. there are no left out people anymore. when he became president he said not only am i going to appoint women to the bench, but i would like to go down in history books as the president who appointed the first woman to the supreme court. he made a nationwide search and he came up with a super nominee in sandra day o'connor.
when sandra came to the court, she was very alone for 12 years. in our room, there is a basket that was labeled men and sandra had to go back to her chambers. the sign of the change was evident when i came to the court because they hurried up with renovation in that room and install the woman's bathroomo iw inside. >> now there are three women on the court and there must be a huge difference from the issues that we are talking about. there are three, and not just one person or even to..
>> i think from the public perception, it is so much better to have children in and out of the court. i've been around so long, one side when in the other was justice kagan. we went there to the court and said, as you know very well, my newest colleagues are not shrinking, in other words i think the competition was who could asked the most questions or argue. it had been so, they had been performing very well and said in
response to my question, justice o'connor, she hasn't been with us for ten years. [inaudible]ews sa >> the male justices were confused. what is it like in oral argument when i first argued a case inrg 1983, there were not very many questions and now, justice thomas famously very seldom asks a question because he feels there are a lot of questions being asked by his colleagues
who has his reasons, but essentially justices, there are now seven, they asked questions all the time. what are you trying to accomplish when you are asking questions? are you trying to find something out about the strength and with weakness of the advocates case? what's going on? >> one of the things is that the advocate and the decision-makers feel the questions may be about of vulnerable point. more than occasionally, it is talking past the advocate to each other trying to influence the way they are thinking about the case. >> some people find that strange
because you are in court, you are in the same building, you could talk to your colleaguesalg without the presence of the lawyers in oral argument. doesn't that dialogue take place among the justices prior to oral argument? >> that would be the discussion of the case when it was reviewed we don't often discuss cases before we go on the bench, and the reason is, the steak holders needs everyone to be well prepared for the oral argument. we have no opinions to be writing, but as the treadmill
turns on, it moves faster and faster. am sometimes reading these arguments so we haven't gotten our own act together well enough to talk about the case. there are exceptions when we do, but it's very close to the argument. >> within the next day or so they turn it over. the conference is where you decide, you discuss how you want to vote. >> yes. so it would be wednesday afternoon and we go around the
table in strict seniority order. sometimes it's cross discussion, but at some point the chief or a another justice will say enough talk, it will come out in the writing and then we go on to the next case. >> i would like to keep asking questions, but james will be angry with me so we know those of you out there have questions and i want to thank you for my part of this.or it's been a pleasure. james. >> as a microphone. if you have a question for the justice please make your way to the microphone.
it goes without saying, no questions about cases that are before the court. don't be shy, we set aside this time for you. >> justice ginsburg, thank thank you very much for being here. you talked something about the evolution of society. i had a question about the discourse in society and where the world is right now. you have any any helpful for us looking forward? >> especially to november? >> when i visit university campuses, i am very hopeful. yesterday and the day before i was just at notre dame. all of the young people i met were very determined to do less
>> justice ginsburg, thank you so much for making your appearance. it's an honor to have you. we have more in common than you think. my wife was born and raised in brooklyn and also my name is chris wallace, and if you didn't know, the first name of the notorious vig is chris wallace. my question is, whether it's one opinion where you are on the dissent that you are particularly did ashamed of or disappointed with that sticks out to you. [inaudible] >> ashamed of how the majority came out. >> i would say disappointed. i've said this before. i was appointed in bush v gore and in citizens united. not as disappointment as
constitutional cases because i was convinced that the court had something wrong. [inaudible] there was someone else who could fix it. so my last line in the case was the ball is now in congress is court to correct the air to which my colleagues have formed. the better fair pay act was the first piece of legislation that president obama. [inaudible] when he took office. >> thank you. >> thank you for coming today justice ginsburg. i was hoping you might share with us some of your thoughts, since i know you are an advocate for access to justice, and for lawyer's role in public interest works, maybe you would share with us some of your thoughts on access to justice issues that
confront not only the profession, but obviously society at large. >> law is a privilege profession i think there is more of an amount monopoly in the united states in any country in the world, and because that's so, we have an obligation to give back, to continue in society. i tell law students that you can get a good paying job in a law firm and then you have a skill that you use and since you are a
true professional, you will do something, as i said before, outside yourself to give back to the community. i think community service is tremendously important. i've thought about, if i were queen, i would probably have a gap after high school so everyone would be involved to do some kind of public service whether it's to the military or you help teach at a public school, but i think that would be good for society if we instilled in young people the notion of service to the community.ear
especially at an early age. >> thank you. >> justice ginsburg, i am a 20 year practitioner in and out of the federal courts and it's a great honor to be here today. i do have a question concerning the shelby county case. i have lived in the lower south, particularly alabama for many years and was very disappointed with the decision as i thought it sort of ended what i think oh as the second construction of the south, and i was just curious what you thought of the impact of shelby county on future all rights legislation or existing civil rights litigation >> we fair third in the
litigation that was ongoing. the process is no more. there had been a number of cases under section two of the act but some of them before the court at this very moment so i don't want to say anymore about them except that they've been in the headlines as well so there is still a reason. [inaudible] as i said, in the long run, i am optimistic. i wouldn't predict that congress
will change the formula of whatu jurisdictions are included because i can't imagine a senator or representative standing up in congress and sank that my county is discriminating >> i think we better leave it at that. >> justice ginsburg, thank you so much for coming here. i guess, when you started your remarks, you mentioned your reverence for the constitution, but also spoke about how principles can change. often time when people talk about the constitution, it's a must in the biblical sense, but unlike a religious document, the constitution can be amended, but it hasn't been for almost 50 years. do you think the failure to
amend the constitution or the fact that it hasn't been amended for so long is a risk to the constitutional system? >> is at risk to the constitutional system that has been mowed and jan made so hard to amend the constitution.some o >> some of the state constitutions are easy to amend. i think the framework of the constitution made the amendment process difficult. they meant it to be the fundamental instrument of government. i am disappointed, i was a
strong opponent proponent of the equal rights a amendment. if you asked me when the equal rights amendment went down or something comparable, i would say i'm so glad we don't have the constitution that begins to resemble a time and jan. [inaudible] >> every time the supreme court writes a headline decision that people don't like, somebody proposes a constitutional amendment. [inaudible] on the whole, i've seen things put into constitution that i
don't like and i think it's great that it is not easily amended. >> we will take these questions and then we'll wrap up. >> thank you. my name is tom. justice ginsburg is the father of four daughters and i want to thank you for your work on behalf of women's right allowing my daughters to pursue things they want to do and are passionate about instead of things they think they ought to do. my my question is for both of you, either one of you. i have been teaching law toeers engineers for a number of years. the demographics have changed a great number of the students are foreign.
>> we wore out the microphone. >> thank you. [inaudible] [inaudible] they put the legal structure first so we could understand it in our context.wed do with that background, do you you have any recommendations on how to teach the students law in america and the fundamentals of a, and any recommendations on reading?
>> i think the united states is not particularly old.surv we have the longest surviving constitution in place in the world. there's an old joke about the french constitution and someone goes to the bookshop in france and request a copy and the shopkeeper says we don't deal i periodical literature. not that our way is superior, but it is different. our system of government, compared to parliamentary systems hasn't taken hold in
most of the world. our constitution is not aspirational. it is law to be applied here and now. many constitutions have magnificent guarantees the right to work, the right not to be hungry, but how does the court enforce such rights? within the constitution is law, the highest law to apply. it would help if it could be educational for the other students to ask them, what is their system, what is the place there constitution in their system? who has the last word on whether the constitution.
your view of how the in-house counsel role has evolved over the past ten or 20 years, and where where would you like to see it go? >> he would be a better person, on that. what i observed is enormous growth in the role of in-house counsel. >> and the responsibility as opposed to outside lawyers almost all the legal business was farmed out to a law firm. i've been heartened to see the participation in pro bono work.
there were a number of firms. they were instrumental in getting them to engage. >> thank you. >> justice ginsburg, thank you for everything you have done to advance equal rights for men and women. you have any advice for us on how we can best carry on that legacy and continue to fight the good fight for equal rights for every human being? >> the explicit gender lines in the law, almost all of them are gone. what's left is unconscious bias so my favorite example of that is the symphony orchestra where
people in the music world who conducted additions can't tell the difference between a woman and a man, critics of the new york times life old test so we came up with the brilliant idea so people doing the selecting won't know who's behind the curve there was an almost overnight change. women began to appear in numbers unfortunately we can't duplicate that in every field of endeavor. i think back to a case in which
i had some involvement in thenay 70s. it was at&t for disproportionately rejecting women from middle management jobs. the women on all the standard criteria for arguing as well as the men. the last step was what they as w called a total person test. the total person test is the interviewer is meeting with candidates and then, at that stage women drop out disproportionately. why? not because the interviewers consciously bias against women, but there is a natural, when you're dealing with someone who looks like you, you have a comfort level.. when someone is different, different race, different gender, you are kind of
uncomfortable or you feel uneasy and that may be reflected in your choice of who will be promoted. not consciously. so getting baz that remains a problem. there's no discrimination anymore, i can get any job i want in the world. fineprint what are what are you point to do when children come? how are you going to arrange her life so you have both a worklife and a home life? i had one thought that technology, it seems to be moving to be flexible. people, men and women who are in law