tv Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Discusses My Own Words CSPAN November 25, 2016 6:45pm-8:01pm EST
[inaudible conversations] >> good morning. welcome. my name is luise welby president acc national capital region region i look at me today. on behalf of the chapter i think i can speak for everyone here about exactly how excited and how honored we are to have justice ruth bader ginsburg and former solicitor general ted olson here with us today. [applause]
i also want to thank so much james williams who is a former member of our board of directors , jim vela who was her vp for programming and eileen. our executive director for all the work that they have put into this event and they deserve a round of applause. [applause] and so with that i want to turn things over to james and he will do the introductions. thank you. >> thank you for this very kind words. it's a tremendous honor to be here today to introduce our guests and it's always difficult when you have guests of this caliber to find the right adjectives in terms to describe them. they are few that come to mind. titans, dedicated, principled, dynamic, engaging, brilliant,
thought leaders and pioneers. what has been the most what has been most personally inspiring for me has been the role of the civil rights leaders whether it's the fight for racial or gender equality or marriage equality or freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification. identification. both ted and justice ginsburg have a assured across all these fronts that are country continues to honor this progress for equal justice for all. justice ginsburg was founded by president clinton as associate justice of the supreme court taking her seat in 1993. prior to her appointment she served from 1980 to 1983 and up into the united states court of appeals for the columbia circuit. the poorer parts of the banshee was professor of law at rutgers law school from 1963 to 1972 and columbia's call -- law school.
she has also served on the faculties of the south park summoner of american cities in the for the humanistic studies and a visiting professor at many universities in the united states and abroad. in 1978 she was a fellow at the center for advanced study and behavioral scientists at stanford california. in 1972 professor ginsburg was instruments and launching the women's rights project of the american civil liberties union. her commitment to civil rights and racial quality and gender equality goes back many decades. lastly but not basically she has the distinction of having the best nickname in his trip in a supreme court justice the notorious rbg. [laughter] that wilson is a partner of the washington d.c. office office pretend was solicitor general of the united states during 2001 to 2004-1981 to 1984 he was assistant attorney general in charge of the office of legal
counsel in the department of justice. he is argued 62 cases before the supreme court as prevailed in over 75%. let me say that again, 75% of those arguments. a remarkable achievement. his cases involve separations of powers federalism voting rights the first amendment equal protection and due process clauses sentencing jury rights punitive damages takings of property the commerce clause telecommunications the 2000 presidential election, i think we remember that one. bush versus gore campaign finance mcconnell versus sec and citizens united same-sex mark it -- marriage and other federal constitutional statutory questions. i am grateful for all they have done. the end of the chat justice ginsburg will take a few questions from the audience and will have a chance for you to interact. without further ado justice
ginsburg and ted olson. [applause] >> thank you james and thank you louise. you can imagine what a pleasure it is -- pardon? >> is the microphone working? >> can you hear me? you can imagine what a pleasure it is for me an 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 get started. and at the risk of repeating a couple things that james said about justice ginsburg i want to add a word or two of my own before we start our dialogue. i don't know where the fireplace
is. [laughter] as james m. sure felt the toughest thing about introducing some unlike justice ginsburg is tempting to say either too much because she has accomplished so much and has led such a distinguished life in our society and our culture or too little because you are do you know who she is and what she has done and you are here to hear from her and not from me. i can't resist the opportunity to say a couple of words about this remarkable woman, her remarkable career and a life that we all admire. i understood this event sold out in one hour and 15 minutes. that is attributed to the fact people have such great respect for you justice ginsburg. i was limited via five boards in a couple of them came up in james's introduction i would say commitment, courage, passion and
to me most of all warrior. i would like to explain that. justice ginsburg older sister died when she was six, her mother struggled with cancer throughout her high school years and passed away the day before her graduation. a very daunting beginning for her. she attended cornell university, was elected to five beta and graduated first among the women in her class. then harvard law school, one of nine women and a class of 500. when her fellow student has been marty ginsburg whom she met on a blind date was diagnosed with cancer, she attended class for both of them, took notes, typed her husband's papers and cared for him and their infant daughter. when he recovered and took a job in yudin new york city she transferred to columbia law school pitch he became the first woman to be elected to two major
law reviews, columbia and harvard. i saw the picture in the book the rbg book i'm going to mention in a moment. two women out of 60 on "the harvard law review" and they have your picture equally balanced of the two women among the 60 men. first in her graduating class at columbia was turned down for united states supreme court clerkship because justice felix frankfurter as "the new york times" reported issue is a woman today she was discouraged she remained undaunted. he is a professor the second woman to join the law faculty at rutgers she founded the women's rights law reporter and later shared the women's rights project. she became the first tenured professor at columbia law school where she authored a book on judicial procedure in sweden.
after mastering swedish. somewhere early in our relationship she saw the name olson and she thought maybe that might be swedish and she asked if i could speak swedish. i had to point out that i was norwegian and i didn't speak swedish or norwegian. [laughter] she later transferred the swedish code of several 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 page he personally argued six cases in the supreme court winning all but one and one a summary reversal in another case without even an argument. in cases that she once started an avalanche for gender equality. justice ginsburg served for 14 years on the d.c. circuit and was the second woman after
sandra day o'connor appointed to the supreme court. she replaced justice byron white she is now the most senior of three female justices on the court. just a word or two more pre-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 with and underwent 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 and internationally respected professor and practitioner of tax died in 2010. she was back in court the next day. just as he would have wanted. you will find out today that justice ginsburg has a wicked mischievous sense of humor, so be careful.
and i can tell you from personal experience having argued over 50 cases while she was on the bench that she is as well prepared are better prepared than any jurist i have ever experienced. she is often the first justice to break the ice and ask a question. those questions are penetrating, focused and tough and as an advocate very intimidating. so, i wanted to say those few words about you because i didn't have the opportunity to do this and i thought we would start off with that there is about to be published or it is being published -- you can tell us today. >> october 4. >> who is paying attention, right? this beautiful book, "my own words" which has excerpts of justice ginsburg speeches, speeches about her, some things about marty ginsburg and other
things like that. it's got beautiful cover and beautiful pictures in it and i'm going to ask you to tell me a bit or tell us a bit about the book that first of all i have to do a james did. the other book which is really fun is the notorious rbg which is a fabulous book with all kinds of fun stuff in it and little lessons about how to be ruth bader ginsburg and he can think about that. you are an icon. what justice on the supreme court is named after a rapper my wife pointed out of the way here that baskin robbins was wanting to name an ice cream, is that what it was? ben & jerry's. i get the ice cream people mixed up. i will eat any of it. ben & jerry's one to name and ice cream roots paid or ginger and i heard something about,
this can't be true about a praying mantis. >> it is absolutely true. >> tell me about it. >> there was a praying mantis named after me. [laughter] >> does this praying mantis do things that other praying mantis duplex. >> she is wearing a caller. >> tell us about this book, "my own words" in my own words, tell us about how it came to be and what is in it. >> this book was originally planned to come out after my official biography. i have two official biographers who chose the speeches and the audibles that are not look. they started writing about me in
2003 and still a work in progress .. this was done with my writings and in introduction by mary hoffman and quinn official biographers. they came to me in 2000. nsaid like it or not people are going to write about you, so you might as well. >> so far you still trust them? >> yes. >> >>oth very >> i saw anyone of the books the device that you got from
your future mother-in-law about marriage quick. >> the best device ever received on my wedding day his mother took me aside and said the year of with like to tell you the secret of a happy marriage. and the secret was, it helpsbe l sometimes to beat a little deaf. [laughter] that advice i follow-through 60 years of a wonderful marriage and every workplace even my current job is something thoughtless or
unkind is said. >> works with the supreme court? yes it does for me. >> what is it like to be such an icon? noto does it mean to you of there is an opera named after u.s. justice scalia and "the notorious rbg." >> i think it is amazing that everybody wants to take a picture. [laughter] "the notorious rbg" is the creation of a second year law student at nyu now graduated and it started
with the shelby county case that declared unconstitutional part of the voting rights act of 1955. they were displeased and angry and then said it bought there is somebodyve that i admire that these are useless demotions.positive and then to put my descent into the shelby county case. and then to take off into the wild blue yonder. and then one of my law clerks said dino where "the
notorious rbg" comes from? i said of course, they do. the notorious be i g both were born and bred in new york. >> >> they we're doing it on broadway. >> so to talk about the opera you are a great lover of shakespeare we have a little bit of time today talking about these things you can ask questions about the supreme court by your relationship with the justice scalia the lot of people are mystified because you were somewhat opposite
ends of the ideological spectrum you served together on the circuit in on the opposite cades -- cases sometimes justice scalia was in such a colorful fashion would be harsh in his language but yet you were great friends. how did that happen? why were you such great friends? what about life on the court turned? >> it should not have been surprising they would have known that with a worse exceedingly fond of the opposite side in many cases and then to enjoy his company has i do. and has an extraordinary ability but then when we
brought on the d.c. circuit together with a three judge panel, and he would whisper something to me and all i could do to avoid one laughing aloud sometimes i would have to excuse myself i know my favorite joke but i cannot tell you. [laughter]and it w >> and watching the opera with him twice and to be a part of the s the seniority
is very important in my work place although he was three years younger, he was appointed to the court many years before i was. that is why it is called skill the yen ginsberg is a comic opera in had the world premiere in virginia last summer in the next production from cooperstown new york in to tell you how it came to me. talented as a music major in the undecided he wishes will
with delegate of the allah. so with a constitutional law course with these two legal opinions from scalia and ginsburg and said they are very funny it is not proper: i will give you just a taste of the opening piece . so with starts off in that the justices are blind house candidate constantly spout the constitution and says absolutely nothing but then i explain there's an easy answers because like ours
constitution that we serve and civic and the friendship than the relationship maybe we can all learn from that glaxo's relationships that have different perspectives and justice scalia said you made his opinions better? that you point out those older abilities or weaknesses or try to make what he said your participation? because this was when you were together on the d.c. circuit. and then wanted to run the microphone. >> i was the beneficiary of that relationship more than he was wary wrote that
dissent he identified all love this hotspots so it was all as a dissent which was much better than the first draft sometimes he would call me and point out the slick by had made sometimesti have a call him and say why don't you tell net down? you will lose your audience. just bring down the decibelsst movell. >> i could tell from men reading that there is the difference when you have to write for the core or dissenting opinion you were
other ning that to be a day obviously he did not temper d some of the language in i am thinking of the marriage equality case also one of that 25 percentage. >> let's talk about that. i had forgotten about that case. >> with the virginia and military institute and was the all male institution part of the university it was a small component of the system in the theory that
some young men needed that male environment to get their bearings. some of us challenge was in violates the equal protection clause because when women were denied and i argued the case and it was a seven / one decision. i got one vote. >> i had six people and justice scalia. [laughter] >> that was my advocacy was not necessary.ne >> but that did not do any more than that. >> maybe a story of the aftermath want i had a
letter to say that in his life in those of release as tough as he was he had a teenage daughter and she had the opportunity if she wanted to attend. but then i heard from him might keep an the letter i could see it every time what to be lifted up with in a letter was there was some tissue paper and it looked like a toy soldier. s but it was the pen it was a cadet in given to the mother of the free vmi graduate at
the graduation ceremony. pdf my mother died last month. she would want you to have her cadet pen because in some ways you are a grandmother to the future generation. [applause] end incidentally. >> that is a beautiful story that takes us to the fact you were such a pioneer at every justice of the supreme court has argued cases john roberts i feigned argued in you were representing the aclu and one of the earliest
to bring these cases about gender equality to deny equal rights to women or men . that's right. matzo what was that like arguing those cases?we were be other day it reminded me of justice thurgood marshall with the naacp with the defense fund to argue cases but then what was it like for you? >> i copied strategy and to develop the law. one you probably remember
when texas realized it could not deny it mission to african-americans so to set up a separate law school for them 30 marshall argued before the court today so plainly but i am uneasy when people make that comparison because there is a huge difference in marshall's life was in chain danger my advocacy was a challenge of
a life was never in danger. another difference people understood the discrimination was odious but then arguing cases the with those arbitrary genderr lines but they had a hard time getting it because they thought of themselves as good husbands, a good fathers and they thought t that women were on a pedestal and were protected. justice brennan has is that wonderful image that he uses >> that all too often that
disabled people in their home had a young son who is getting custody to apply for custody to be prepared for a man's world and then to become a custodian but then one day in a severe depression to ago one of his father's guns said to be appointed minister of the state they said the story this is with the idaho law says they are equally
entitled to a minister males are preferred to the females. the great thing about the case to take it through three levels of the idaho courts. i did it involved until there was an appeal to the supreme court. but this was an everyday woman that what she conceived to be the obvious injustice if they did link edit then how would they allow that if president did not allow access.
>> pour the man whose wife died in childbirth. with social security benefits when a child is left in the care the sole surviving parent. so steven also thought that was the injustice believe we had a legal system. >> do you think the nature of those cases helped you to be successful because so many had come before with similar issues that had been raised that they were
less your husband or father is the owner of the establishment. and then today we would call her a battered woman. and then humiliating her to the breaking point hit him over the head with a baseball bat and then beginning of the murderur prosecution. and the supreme court in 1961 said that was okay but then in the '70s one case
are none at with the word to remain in the home. so if that did not fit then you were out of luck. in the 10 years 61 through 71 there was enormous change . and then to illustrate that that my 10 years apart are my children. just before i started law school. she was four when i graduated in very few working moms but then when
my son was born 1965 that was no longer unusual tot have it to income family. so many things in that direction and was much longer than they once did. by the time a woman had terror last child to wouldn't have much time left to live. but for many years now women are spending most of theirg adult life with no child-care responsibilities.
>> but also making it happen in because you brought those cases and your leadership of the lever that people would read about those cases than they would see you were explaining the injustice in those take a life of their own and then i would take that with the united states supreme court and i misspoke but i was talking about justice o'connor and what did meant 1981 when ronald reagan appointed her and
president ever went back and left out people anymore but not only will i continue to appoint women but i will go down in the history books to appoint the first woman to the supreme court and then did a search and came up with a super nominee of standard day o'connor. >> when she came to the court she was all alone 12 years there was a bathroom but it was labeled the men and then should have to go
and one end with the justice k. again. so we went there but as you know, very well and they are not shrinking violets. there was a competition between justice scalia and justice d 22 past the most questions. that to beef performing very well. justice o'connor, she's been there for the last 10 years but nobody calls her justice
sotomayor t. [laughter] >> this happened with a the mail justices that were confused so what is thatwhat i like in oral argument when i first arguta case in 1983 there were not very many questions but now justice thomas famously very seldom asks a question because he feels there is a lot of questions being asked by his colleagues and has his reasons but now they ask questions all the time. water you trying to accomplish when you are asking questions? retrying to find something now that string and weakness or you speaking to your colleagues? >> but then to answer that
but talking past aggregate to each other to influence the way about the case. to be in court to in the same building you could talk to your colleagues without the presence of lawyers in oral argument doesn't that dialogue takes place among the justices prior to oral arguments quick. >> said that would be a
to talk about the case there are exceptions when we do but the conference is very close to the argument. >> about the next day or so. but those conferences to express how you want to vote >> wednesday afternoon talk about one baird tuesday thanue friday be will talk about tuesday wednesday we go round uh table with strict seniority order sometimes it is close discussion pet then
we go on. >> avenue like to keep asking questions but james would be a great with me. we know those of you out there have questions. this is the nub pleasure for me. -- has been a pleasure for me. >> >> we have a microphone here. obviously it goes without saying -- say no cases that are currently before the court. any questions please come forward. >> thanks for being here. talking about the evolution of society have questions
i see that in my own granddaughter to be very much in gauged with your societal problems. i am an optimist about the future. >> justice ginsburg thank you so much for making an appearance we have more in common that you might think i wife is born and raised in brooklyn also my name is chris wallace if you did not know of birth date of the notorious b-i-g is chris wallace. [laughter] but my question is if there is this when opinion if you are on the descent the you
are ashamed of for disappointed with. >> of my dissent? never. [laughter] >> of how the majority came out? >> i would say disappointed. i was disappointed bush purses for in citizens united not as disappointed as in the constitutional cases i did think they had title seven wrong and nobody else could fix it so now the ball is in congress's court
and that lily ledbetter fair pay act for when he took office the president signed that. >> thanks for coming today justice ginsberg i wasod hoping you might share yourns thoughts since i know you are in an advocate for access to justice, maybe you could share your thoughts on access to issues that confront not only the profession but society at large. >> what is a privilege profession i think more of a monopoly than any country in
then to have a gap period after high-school so everybody would be involved. whether they go to the military to help teach and a public school i think that is good for society and if we would instill in young people at an early age. >> i am a 20 year practitioner so i do have a question concerning the shelby county case i have
lived in the of lower south in alabama over many years and was very disappointed ofat what i think of of the second reconstruction of the south and i am just curious the impact of shelby county on future civil-rights legislation or existing legislation. >> do you read the newspapers to see that it is ongoing? the pre-clearance process with the number of cases from the voting rights act. some of them before the
>> sullivan is easy to amend it will go on and on and on. [laughter] that with that announcement processes difficult with that fundamental and makes it powerfully hard to change . of i am disappointed and i still am as a proponent of the equal rights amendment to be ratified. but even so if it is something comparable i would
say we don't have a constitutional resembles that and some of the amendments of the headline decision that they don't like propose a constitutional amendment. like prayer in the schools. so i see the risk of the things that i would not like putting into the constitution and so i think it is it good is not easily mended. >> justice ginsburg as the father of four daughters bank for your work on behalfgh of women's rights on behalf
of my daughters to pursue the things that they want to do and are passionate about instead of things that what people think they ought to do and my question is for both of you or either one of view i have been teaching law to engineers at the university of maryland over a number of years and the demographics change the sell a number of the students are foreign. >> [no audio] >> it is hard to hear.. >> we were up the microphone >>
[inaudible] so they could understand it in our context. with that background youwe have any recommendations howow to teach the students of the fundamentals of america? >> i think we all appreciate although among all the nations in the world ours is not particularly old. we have the longest surviving constitution still in force in the world.
there is an old joke that somebody goes into a bookshop to request a copy of the french constitution the shopkeeper says rico and dealing and periodical literature. [laughter] so it is peculiar but it is different. our system of governmenthold. that will take hold in most of the world. our constitution is not as operational -- aspirational.
how does the court and force those rights? so the constitution is the highest law that you apply. so maybe it would help with the at the education of the other students what is that system and what is the place of the constitution? who has the last word if it is constitutional?preme saw what the very first supreme court did with justice marshall to develop that judicial review for constitutionality. seven the rare exception so
one idea that i have for you is to compare their systems to hours and that would delight in your students. >> madam justice thanks for spending time with us today i am particularly interested in your view of how the house counsel role has evolved over the last 10 or 20 years where would you like to see it go? >> perhaps he would be a better person to comment.
>> justice ginsburg thanks for everything you have identified vance equal rights for women and men do have a vice to how to carry on of legacy and continue to fight the good fight? >> the easy job is thes gender lines almost all of them are gone. what is left is the unconscious bias like the symphony orchestra people in the music world who conduct additions to see the difference between a woman or a man playing. or the blindfold test and
got a wrong as often as he got a right. so that is a brilliant idea to drop the curtain so the people who do the selecting will know who was behind the curtain. almost there was an overnight change as benin began to appear. unfortunately you cannot duplicate that with every endeavor. i think back at a title seven case against at&t for disproportionately meeting women out of middle management jobs. with all the standard criteria were met as well as
the men the last death was the total person test with the interviewer who meets with the candidate and then at that stage they drop out disproportionately. why? not because they are consciously bias but naturally when you deal with someone who looks like you, you have a comfort level if they are aha different race, a different gender you feel uncomfortable or uneasy and that maybe reflected in your choice. not consciously but to get past that remains a problem.