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tv   Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O Connors Judicial Impact  CSPAN  October 14, 2019 8:00pm-9:11pm EDT

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good evening, thank you for joining us. i have the pleasure of introducing our two panelist's in a moment we, have a number of guests with us. i would like to take a moment to thank justice brett kavanaugh for joining us. it's an honor. today it's time to celebrate the legacy of the first woman he appointed to the supreme
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court. this evening with the privilege of welcoming the second and the third. we are extraordinarily grateful that route bitter ginsburg and sonia sotomayor will honor sandra day o'connor. it turns out that justice ginsburg and justice o'connor share a distinction, that is interesting nicknames. when justice o'connor was confirmed, she earned the moniker -- for first woman on the supreme court. justice ginsburg has been grounded the notorious rbg, so i will leave it to you to decide which one is that year! they share a lifelong commitment to expanding opportunities for women. so it makes sense that when justice ginsburg joined justice o'connor on the bench in 1993, the two bonded over their historic role and transforming the supreme court. both the justices had to
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overcome discrimination, and professional rejection. but justice o'connor once put a helpful spin on it. if they had come of age when women could easily be lawyers, she told justice ginsburg, they will probably have ended up as retired partners of some law form. but because that route was not open to us, justice o'connor explained, we had to find another way, and we both ended up in the united states supreme court. one woman they inspired was a young attorney in manhattan, she had been working in the da office in 1981, when she heard that president reagan had nominated sandra day o'connor. just two years earlier she and her law school classmates and wondered aloud whether they would ever see a woman on the supreme court in their lifetimes. little did sonia sort of mine or imagine, that 28 years later she would become the third woman on the court, and make history in her own right as the
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first latino justice. these three women come from very different backgrounds. one group shooting jack rabbits on a ranch in arizona, one is a descendant of jewish immigrants who was raised in brooklyn, and what's been her childhood summers visiting her parents native puerto rico. they follow three separate paths to the american dream, but ended up in the same place, as accomplished lawyers, courageous trail blazers inspiring role models, and associate justices of the supreme court. we are deeply grateful to them for all they have done and all that they represent. joining justices ginsburg and sotomayor on stage this evening is reagan foundation trustee and former solicitor general can also. that has argued more than 60 cases, so he is used to taking questions from justices ginsburg and sotomayor. but tonight the tables are turned. he finally gets to ask the
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questions, and that may be why he's worked so hard to help organize this event. we are deeply grateful to his effort to make today's conversations possible. so now please join me in welcoming the honorable associate justices at the supreme court, ruth bader ginsburg and so no sonia sotomayor >> everyone please be seated, thank you. i think they need to sit down.
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>> i know most of that was for the justices. we are so honored at the reagan institute to have this program today, with those of you who have been here from the beginning know it has been a marvelous experience. we have had many of justice o'connor's clerks, colleagues, and friends talking about her legacy, what it meant when she was appointed to the supreme court, what -- a bit about her jurisprudence and it has been an exciting, interesting conversation and i worry, as i was hearing this what can we add to that? we are going to talk about some of the same things. some of the audience heard a lot about justice o'connor and her jurisprudence and what she
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meant to the court, and to america but they didn't hear it from her. her colleagues and the history of the united states supreme court, and i will ask some of the questions that people here i'm sure are anxious to learn about, and i'll start with you, just to skins burke. what was your reaction and what were your feelings when you first heard that justice o'connor was going to be nominated to be on the united states supreme court? >> i was driving home from the d.c. circuit, i turned on the news and the nomination of saturday or calm or was announced. i said, hallelujah!
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and i also thought, this is a sign that what jimmy carter began is going to be advanced forward and what jimmy carter began was to change the complexion of the u.s. judiciary. when he became president, it was only one woman on a federal court of appeals, a major the first ever secretary of education. and then there were none and carter, although he had only four years at no supreme court vacancy to feel, he did literally change the complexion of the federal courts by appointing women and members of minority groups in numbers. i think president
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reagan was saying, jimmy carter was right and i'm going to make the big drive forward of appointing a woman to the u.s. supreme court. >> so you saw this as a continuum of what the president carter had started and was a change in the opportunities for women to be part of the federal judiciary anyway, anywhere? >> people ask, did you always want to be a supreme court justice and i say, and the ancient days when justice o'connor graduated from law school what we want it was a job, any job. >> we will talk too much about the job opportunities, at least at the beginning. just as sort of may or where were you and how did you learn about this nomination, this appointment and what was your reaction? >> i was it assistant district
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attorney in new york county and i was working hard, but it's all you know, through the work harder than most of us so i got to see on the news that night and, to me, i have just graduated from law school a year and a half before -- a year before. and at the time, there were no women on the supreme court, there were hardly any women in the judiciary. they were two women on the supreme court of other states, and the idea and law firms were touting that they were progressive, when they had one woman partner among 100. so, whether ruth had started i
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still had not seen the progress being made on any significant numbers just yet, but the appointment of sandra gave me a hope. it gave me the hope of thinking that progress would move faster than i had imagined. >> i did not move quite as fast as i had hoped, and there are still some steps to be taken, but there are some steps to be taken. it was the beginning of exploring all aspects of our profession. you see, the advantage of diversity, whether it's gender, or race or ethnicity, or even professional work, whatever the diversity represents, it gives people who don't otherwise think there is
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opportunity. it inspires them to believe there might be. i think seeing a woman on the court inspired not just me, but so many of the young women starting their careers. >> do think, justice or to me or, that justice o'connor had very special qualities in terms of her character, her background, her up bringing? >> the only thing that scared me was she was a woman who had done it all. she was married, she raised children, she had served in the legislature, and i thought to myself, oh my god, if that is a standard, i'm not going to accomplish anything. ruth pretty much did something
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similar in her work. yes, i do think it does take those extraordinary women who broke those initial barriers fortitude that was absolutely necessary to do what they did. as you, know justice kagan and i are not married, we don't have children. we've had successful careers, and i don't think you have to be unmarried and have children to have successful careers, but i think it helped. but represented everything that people expected and more. >> justice ginsburg, what quality did you see that helped craft her for the position of
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being first. you were second, they have to carry a sense of obligation to the people that are out there watching and seeing you as an example, as a role model. what qualities did she bring to that role? >> sandra was responsible more than any justice and history. that was very important. when she revived the tradition of having lunch together and urged her colleagues to attend, deep is also a good listener and she had patience, and and never saw her snap back in anger. sandra
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was the person who, whatever came her way in life, that it all unfortunate, she felt good. like breast cancer. i don't know how many women were inspired to carry on, to have courage to do what she did. how she dealt with that, does whatever life brought her way, she just did it. that was her attitude. >> it was, part of the growing up the two of you are from
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decidedly different environments. new york city, brooklyn, so fourth and were educated on the east. does that make any difference? everyone brings their life experience there but, i think saunders attitude, centered childhood was that she could do it. she rode with the cowboys and one of them said that she was not the rugged type but she worked very well. she held her own at every stage of her career. >> both of you broke many
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barriers and each of you were first and your career, including and many different ways. justice sotomayor, describe that. do you feel special obligations to women or to the legal profession because you are breaking every day these barriers? >> i don't feel special obligations to a certain people, but i feel as a justice, whether i'm a woman an obligation to uphold the values of the court. and i think that's what sandra felt, a deep commitment to the institution and that goes along with wreaths description of her ends stunts on the collegiality of the court. i tell a story that the justices were at a meeting,
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i don't remember but we got distracted about a book that described many a time in the supreme court history when the justices were openly hostile to each other. some of my colleagues, a quiet voice in the room said that when women take on the--. and justice ginsburg was right about that. i do remember, after my induction that was there, i said that i will try to see you,
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. one of the things she spoke to me about was my obligation to attend the lunches. it was her obligation to continue the tradition. a continued long after her taking senior status, that emphasis on the institution, maintaining not just its collegiality but the sense of that society. >> the atmosphere was from time to time must be very tense, and
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has some very strong dissents. there's a lot of tension -- >> this is an episode in which she played a major role. it was not the end of the term. but i suppose the most tense moment i have experience what was the decision and bush the gore. it was a marathon. the court granted review on saturday, and the decisions were out by tuesday. when it was over, i
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set my clerks to watch what the newscasters are saying about to justice kennedy's chambers, because he wrote the principal opinion for the court. justice collier called me that evening, to, say what are you doing, still in your chambers. you should go home and take a hot bath. >> this was the night of the decision? >> well that case was tenth, and i'm not asking that we should not be talking about it but we do know that there were a lot of difficult feelings about whether the court should have taken the case or how important it was to just i take the case, justice o'connor has famously characterized it has
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not jabbing back, not responding to a harsh criticism and a separate opinion. is that part of what you were talking about? >> she responded to ideas but never to individuals. you would never see an honor position one justice saying about another justices opinion, this opinion will not be taken seriously. in fact, that was sort of justice o'connor's opinion. she never snapped back to speak in the same strident voice, she did answer arguments that were made but she was never critical of a
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colleague. you would never see in her opinions, this opinion is profoundly misguided, and in that, i tried to follow her lead. >> is it our, justice sotomayor, to resist because i've read these opinions.. some of them are pretty pointed. one day, jessica looked at me and said, i really love you sonia, you're a bulldog like i am. were both new york city street fighters. he was right, i have been helped in restraining myself with the intervention of colleagues, which is one of the things that you asked about,
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how do we maintain that collegiality, other colleagues will step and, have conversations with you, and suggested that some things have crossed the line. others have received and, i won't mention what it was about or was an apology from a colleague for something that was said and heated argument. and that i know was likely prompted by someone else saying, what did you do? where did you really mean that. so it's to remain collegial, to understand your obligation to work with each other, assuming each other's good faith. it gets challenged when you disagree, but that is the time when you need to come to your senses and the group
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needs to continue insisting upon the nature of our family. >> i was going to ask about the oral arguments, sometimes the oral arguments, the justices are asking the advocate questions, that are really talking to one another. is that you? >> in that feeling that you're being talked through and not to. >> i never understood why lawyers don't let us do that more often, or don't like it .. >> chief justice roberts has talked about this, about the oral argument and i've heard either him or someone say, we don't talk to one another to much about the cases before oral argument, because the first time we've talked to one another and we are doing it
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through the medium of the poor guy standing six feet away. is that true? >> the first time we've considered a case together would have been at the petition for review stage. the discussion is fleeting, but at least we would have been together and noticing this case that has been under review. then, there's not much discussion before the argument, and frankly there isn't time because, as the term goes on, you are gearing up for the city, you're writing opinions for the city and he may not have passed the reply brief in that case has been argued the next day until the night before. so that's why there isn't much in the way of discussion before
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the oral argument, but we are constantly trying to persuade each other. every time i'm running a descent before people, i am hoping that i will pick up one more vote and mostly i am disappointed but i remember vividly one term, when my senior colleague assigned it is anthony so the court divided seven to two. in the fullness of time, the judgment came out six to three, but the two had to six. and the seven headstrong to three..
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>> i think that was yoga bera who said that >> she always presently surprises me. >> justice o'connor was often the first one to ask a question. and it always was a tough question and require the advocate to be prepared for something in the record, and you do that to. you often ask the first question are you breaking the eyes or trying to find a weakness, i know justice o'connor was getting it started. and i always waited until she asked the first question, i always waited for her to ask, that was a signal that we could stop the soliloquy engage in a tiebreak or
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>> the most awkward moment for me was the argument after justice scalia's death. i think we were all a little bit shell-shocked and i remember sitting and the poor advocate standing up there talking and nobody had interrupted him. unheard of when the justice was alive. that may be a time in which i felt that i had to break the ice, because it was a painfully long time. you could see it in the poor advocate, like what is happening here? my problem is that i was a district court judge and when you're a district court judge it you. you don't have to wait for anybody, it's hard to
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adjust waiting for eight other colleagues to have a say. so that's my problem but i do think that when any of us asking questions, it's because the issue is important to us. >> justice o'connor was in a cameo appearance and henry the fifth. >> yes, she was the queen of france. and she said, a woman's voice to some good. what does that mean and the context of a justice on the supreme court. it's a woman voice, what does it mean, what difference does it make is a sexist to say that or stereotypical to say that? >> sandra unquote, as she did many times, a minnesota supreme
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court justice, jeanne coin, who said, at the end of the day, a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same judgment, and i think that is true but sandra would have followed it up by saying we featuring our life experience to the table. growing up a woman is not the same is growing up a man. and you could see the difference and an opinion that justice o'connor wrote that came out at the end of a very first court. it was against mississippi university for women. it was about a man who wanted to become a nurse and the best nursing school in this area was
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a mississippi intercity for women. how can challenge the exclusion as a denial of equal protection and one of the justices, justice powell looked on the reservation of the nursing school as an affirmative action for women, so it was okay. but sandra, if you are between the lines, what she is saying if you want to improve the status of women in the nursing profession, the best way to do it is to get men to want to do the job because to pay inevitably will go up. so that was an inside that she had, to recognize that
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reserving that school development was not in favor of women. so that decision struck down that policy, as i recall. they remember those pretty well, that you cited her language and that decision and your decision and the united states versus virginia. and what you also played a major role. >> that 1 am very proud of but the vote i can't recall what the vote was. >> those one person who agree with you, justice clear, that it was all. >> it was only an eight justice court. >> i understand that justice stevens, who is in the majority, assigned that to justice o'connor and she said that should go through and, can you
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tell us about that? what happened, and what did you do with that? >> because seniority is a major factor in our workplace. if he was a junior justice, you tend not to get the most exciting cases. and i was pretty junior. but sandra recognized that this was something i cared a whole lot about and so she told justice stevens that i should write the opinion. >> does that happen very often? >> >> it is so much about the
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generosity of her spirit. it hardly ever happens. >> what can you add, to sort of my your about a woman's voice and the fact -- >> it went back to my confirmation hearing. >> this is the first to 1981, now with 38 years later there are three women on the court of, justice ginsburg has said she will be happy when there is nine. >> the question is when there will be enough and there will be enough when there are nine. nobody ask any questions when all nine were men. >> you have a point.
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>> have you any other thought about that? >> i use it as an example some of my speeches something that happened in a virginia case involving the young woman who was strip searched at her school because of an allegation that she was seen taking an aspirin. i wasn't on the court, so i am repeating something that was public knowledge. apparently, some of my male colleagues were asking questions to suggest that the strip search was equivalent to students undressing in the gym. for those who are women, i think most of us know that puberty is a time in which there is a heightened sensitivity to the privacy of
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one body. and the idea that an opinion could have been written by one of our brothers that may have suggested that this search was something less than an affront to the dignity of a young girl would have been an appalling writing. i do think, and my colleague, justice ginsburg was part to say that she thought that her male colleagues did not understand what it was like to be a young girl. >> the way the questions were going, i said a 13 year old girl is not the same as a 13-year-old boy in the sense of the invasion of privacy. this
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girl was accused of having drugs. >> the drugs turned out to be one advil in the other was something comparable she was taken to the girls bathroom, strip searched, and she was then taken to the principles office and she sat in a chair out that the prince was office until her mother came to call for her. her mother was outraged and sued the school district for what had been done to her daughter. but i think in the middle of that argument, the tenor of the questions changed. there were no longer joking about it. >> i read that. you made that point quite clear during the argument. the point, being in my raising that example if that
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clearly we come to judging with our life experiences, and that includes every bit of it and i remind people that wise old men and wise old women disagree and come to different conclusions on the court in many decisions so it's not the wisdom of gender, it is simply the wisdom of life and coming and bringing as many perspectives as we can to the process, diversity of background of legal experience, that's why sandra gave ruth the pmi case. she had spent her life on the issues of equality for women and it was a fitting tribute to what writ had done. >> i ask the question about
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justice o'connor growing up on a vast ranch in arizona. >> i couldn't do half of the things that she wrote, she rode horses she did fish she came to visit and they be out in this river fly fishing, i believe that she hunted. i know ruth has flown out of airplanes, come out of both. i don't do that. >> he also went around a golf course faster than anyone had ever seen. >> she was a heck of a tennis player to but she came from the west and went to stanford justice kennedy came from the west. all of you went to jail
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or harvard law school and most if he went to ivy league. there's not much diversity in that respect on the court now, is that anything that you think will have an impact. >> a certain number of justices come from the west coast provinces, that was arizona because there was to justice -- the population of arizona -- >> until justice cleopatra way there were four of you for five boroughs of new york city. so we whatever, the haunting were
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missing was staten island. >> whatever the president was would've been looking for someone 50 years old from harvard and staten island. >> it's quite a few of them. >> should that matter? should -- >> there was a time earlier in our history when they return geographic areas that were presumed to be, a southern seat or something like that. should that matter? >>. >> diversity of experience, includes where you grew up.. >> you left,. i'm going to ask
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-- justice o'connor was a troubled of, people who she was this is maybe the first time in a long time that someone knew the name of someone and the face of somebody on the united states supreme court and in that sense she was a role, model a trail blazer because people would look at her and saying, this is obtainable and this makes a difference. you have each been very much out in public, you've written a bestselling book, does this sort of my or, you got your own t-shirt factory. to what degree relinquishing are privacy, the court won that cameras in the courtroom, but you're relinquishing your privacy to
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explain or break available to the american public your experiences and your feelings and who you are. that has to have a big impact on the american people and women in particular. you make that decision consciously. i'm going to go out there because i'm not just a justice, i'm a public figure and it's important for me to be out there and answer questions. you go to a lot of places and give interviews to law schools and barr associations. we speak and public a lot just to sort of mayor. what goes through your mind with respect to that. how much privacy are you willing to go up to perform that function? >> my mail was littered with letters that one like this. last, year or five years ago justice o'connor visited our law school, are barr situation,
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our country and she did go to all 50 states, she was a great ambassador of the united states to other places. so the letters that i got, after justice o'connor was here, as recently as monday when i was in north carolina and i was that a woman called called meredith, and there are very proud that sandra day o'connor had come there in 1991. i don't know how she managed all the invitations that she got but she made a concerted effort to speak to every state in the union and to be available when the government want an ambassador who is not part of the political world to help countries that were struggling to install rule of law, to give them encouragement and assistance. so the tagline of
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the letter that i got was, she was here, now it's your turn. >> so, i'm going to ask you to just a certain way, or what goes through your mind when you're inundated with invitations, both of you and you have a very hard, job he's a very demanding work that you do but you take the time to go to bar associations, you go to state law schools and travel. what goes through your mind, you feel it's important for you to do what justice o'connor started and both of you have been doing this. >> the most important thing is the courts work, and i don't let outside engagements interfere with the time that i must reserve to prepare for the
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oral arguments so, while the term is ongoing, i try to limit the amount of my travel, but we do have visitors in the court all the time. we have school children rogue secondary to the graduate level, many of the groups that i speak to, speak at one of the courts conference rooms. >> what i'm getting at is why do it? you give that much more, why do you give that time and to the people that you go to visit and talk to? >> well, you asked, i know this is true for justice ginsburg, and certainly true for me, you do give up a sense of privacy and diversity is no place in the united states that i can travel without people
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recognizing me. we were in portugal together this past summer and i hired a driver to take me around the city, and he took me to one of their famous bakeries and as i walked and there was a puerto rican family who saw me walk in and surrounded me, and this poor driver told the entire store, come over and take pictures with me, so we finally sat down, he got made the little miniature pastry he want me to take and look to me and said, who are you? but that does happen. you're, right you do get a sense of privacy when you go out to the public. when i first got to the court, there were these three garbage collecting bends, the huge ones
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you see in a building where they take the individual baskets and put them into a huge big one. there were three of them sitting there with letters and i was looking at them and opening them in the mail delivery guy comes in and i say, three of these and he says, no the three more downstairs. i had all the letters open that here and i organized all the different groups who wanted me to speak and i sat down and said to myself. what do i want to accomplish as a justice. what is the legacy. i made a decision that my legacy was to reach out to as many children as i could, to inspired them to, first becomes typically involved and secondly, not to give up hope for themselves and
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just virtually everything that i do is geared to that end. so whether it was my memoir where in my preface i tell, i explained that i am writing my book for those people like me who come from difficult backgrounds in the hopes that they will understand that they too can have a good life and a meaningful one. my most recent book, that just came out the summer, just ask is geared to children with chronic life conditions. and the entire message of the book is that we are equal, in every meaningful way to everyone else.. so that makes it easier for me to choose among the invitations i
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get. you do has to do some things -- like i'm here,, not many children are here, or at least not young children. because there are people who you are fond of and i'm fond of justice o'connor and you do things because there are people that you love, and who are important to you to ask you to do things but virtually all of my appearances have a relationship to children. and that is why, when justice o'connor stopped being able to be actively involved and the organization that she created and launched and care about so deeply when they asked me to join the board i joined it because her message is very much in keeping with my own so i make conscious decisions about where i can have the
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greatest, impact and with the two goals in mind that i set forth which is to give people hope who might not otherwise have it and to inspire people to believe in our government and our system of government and to have respect for the court system, and i think if we just start that process in young people than it can very much change the tenor of our country,. justice o'connor believed that partisanship and politics started when they stopped teaching civics in schools and she's right! when i bear her standard in terms of saying the same thing, we must go back to talking to each
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other, and really talking in understanding what civic participation means. >> that's another reason why we are so grateful that you are here. you are in a position where, because of where you are, people will listen, people will watch, people will learn from our people, will be inspired by. justice ginsburg units that away from being the notorious rbg, every girl and my family has a t-shirt or a mug or whatever -- >> she does to. >> you have not backed away from that at all and you talk about people wanting to have their picture taken with you. >> i'm 86 and a half years old
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and everyone wants to make pictures with me. the notorious rbg was started by a second year student, who was displaced with the court decision and the shelby county case that help on constitutional. so the student was at first angry and then thought to stop anger it's not useful. she was going to do something positive so she took the bench announcement of my dissent and shelby county case and started a block. and then it took out into the stratosphere. she called the
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notorious rbg because there is a well-known rapper, the notorious be ig and people asked me -- >> nobody knows about him anymore. >> the two of us have something very important and comment. what can that be? we were both born and bred and brooklyn. >> certainly, after that, your press diverged. but there is value, the same as what just sotomayor saying, there is value, i think, to the american people, to the young people, to women, and men to hear you, say you, the aware of you, they learn about the court, they learned about the institution, they learn about your life story. both of your life stories that are so inspiring.
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he must be aware of the fact that people are drawing inspiration about themselves all the time because of this. >> if i could give people hope, those people, such as -- it's amazing the number of products, even recently i was sent a set of air fresheners, closet fresheners. but i think it's that people want something hopeful. to believe that what is important to them is shared by many others. i think it's got more than anything. the
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desire to have something positive, in your vision. >> i think it's that but it's also, and this brings us back to justice o'connor. she was a believer and i can do it, and to tell people, just do it. when she writes in her book about being sent out miles and miles to bring lunch to the ranch hands when she had a flat tire and had to explain to her father why she showed up late she said just start early. but with her she was determined to overcome all kinds of obstacles. she wasn't offered a job like you went to graduate from law school, the idea that you can
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accomplish think that someone facing disadvantage, that's also a lesson that you both you are giving people. you can do it. >> i'm going to tell your story about just do it, that was one of her favorite expressions. it was my very first term, we have had the first sitting and i was expecting that the chief justice would assigned to me a unanimous decision in a one issue case. instead, chief justice assigned to me, probably the most dense statutory effort passed and it
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was not unanimous, it was six to three, justice account i was one of the three. i complained he seventh, do it and get your opinions before he makes a next set of assignments, otherwise who will risk getting another unpleasant case. that was her attitude about everything. >> we've heard a lot about her, she was both a consensus builder and a trail plays and i suppose that one is the antithesis of the, other viewer out there right in this singular dissent, and chief justice rehnquist,, he was a
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singular, that must be somewhat the intention of being a consensus builder, can you think about that sir? >> i do because i'm not a consensus builder, i think there is a tension, however's i don't think that sandra, i don't think that justice o'connor's worried about being a trail blazer. i think she focused on just doing and for her's what was right she did not expect that others would not understand. so you read it in the book. by force and
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personality she faced people to leave her but she really worked on consensus in the sense of, this is the right thing to do. >> bringing people together sometimes doesn't accomplish what dissent can do. there wasn't a lone dissent and your letter, but the descent made a huge difference, so there's a role for that and for time to time she did not do that. that's what i'm asking, when do you decide that i'm going to get out there and maybe read my doesn't sunday in june. >> as you know, most of the time, decisions are announced but not summarized from the bench. the author of the courts opinion will say, justice
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so-and-so joined by justices so-and-so dissented. period. but if you think the court's got it not is wrong but egregiously wrong, then it will speak out and announcer dissent from the bench, which i did and lilly leadbetter's case, it was five, four, with a lone dissent but my tagline was, really leadbetter's case involves title seven. my tagline was, the ball is now in congress escort to correct the error's into which my colleagues have flown. there is just a wonderful coalition. huge majorities on both sides of the aisle to pass the fair pay act
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which was the first piece of legislation and president obama signed when he took office. >> i had a model for that because years before in the seventies then justice rehnquist had come to the conclusion that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is not discrimination on the basis of sex. that was so startling that it's practical edition for that him ended title seven's, discrimination on the pace of pregnancy is discrimination. >> i call the pregnancy mobility act. but the notion
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that it could not be sex discrimination because, after, all the world is divided into non pregnant people, that includes many women, and then there are pregnant people and they are -- so it could not be gender based discrimination. the same thing with the leadbetter. >> this sense can make a difference and answer circumstances -- >> to galvanize groups to do with pacific participation means to go out there and lobby and move for reform. it happened in both cases, and
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sometimes it has it in other ways. i do a dissenting from denial, in the alabama case about jerry overrides. there is ultimately a legislative fix that occurred when they galvanize to change it. they can draw spotlight on issues that the public should think about and if they are as outraged as we are we can move change, certainly. >> justice stevens was confirmed by unanimous vote, same with o'connor, and scalia. there were only nine votes -- >> only three.
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>> that's the breyer guy's but there are now 31 and they're up and over 40. are we at a point when there is no turning back in terms of the contentiousness of the confirmation process and what kind of damage does that do to your institution? >> if you think back, way back to 1980, when i got my first to happen d.c., i was appointed to the court of appeals. the chair of the judiciary committee was ted kennedy. the ranking minority member was sean thurman. those two worked together to get well qualified churches appointed to the
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federal force. it was the same thing, 1993 when i was nominated. joe biden chaired the committee. oren had two hits the ranking member on that judiciary committee, it was my biggest supporter. that's the way that it should be, and the way that i hope i will see again in my lifetime, but it will take people who really care about our country to say, enough of this dissension, let's come together and do the work that should be done. >> were just about done. i don't know the justices can do anything. i know you spoken
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about it but is there anything as citizens that we can do, we can exert people to be more decent and civil in the process. anything else? >> it's not just expectation, it's both speaking out publicly about it, -- if politicians feel the outcry, they will respond, and mostly do. but we have to educate the public about the problem and we have to educate them about the risks that continuing to perceived judges as partisan creatures will cause in terms of our institutions. i don't know that -- i mean, when i look at the
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news i certainly don't hear a lot of intelligent conversation explaining this issue as a non partisan issue, as one that is basic to our survival as a democracy. so i think we do. i speak at law schools frequently and i try -- for not pulling more attention, and are focusing more attention on the importance of lawyers in educating the public and themselves graduating from law school with respect to the process. think about how many people on the judiciary committee have graduated from law school, and look at how many of them are acting. that
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is incredible, that trained lawyers do not believe that it's important to believe on the basis of qualification. >> i believe the american people feel strongly about this. it's awful to behold and it's very damaging to the judiciary, particular to your court. our time is up, it's been fantastic.
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this institution, i'm kate clark and i'm the

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