Skip to main content

tv   Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg on Public Interest Law  CSPAN  October 27, 2017 8:33pm-10:08pm EDT

8:33 pm
jostling. i was a little bit behind him. it intensified it and it looks like he would fall to the ground. he at the time was a 74-year-old what any decent human being would do when you see a 74-year-old man on the verge of falling to the ground. i grabbed him by the arm. being -- it was a large, i don't know how many, but i was fearful of being separated from them and being left behind. , as a kazakh and when i did hand andi took his when i did that, that is when it fell on me. >> she discusses a violent protest following a scheduled lecture by political scientist charles murray. --ch for saturday night watch her saturday night on q&a.n's two an
8:34 pm
> our interviewer is the seventh circuit court of appeals judge anne williams. this is an hour and a half. >> hello, everybody. my name is david stern, and i am the proud executive director of equal justice works. thank you all for being here. i am very excited. are you excited? i thought so. i saw you in the halls. you guys are awesome. just remind you. after a couple of minutes, we will put our phones down. just want to make sure we all were clear on that one. of course, we are so honored today to have the justice here to have a conversation with anne claire williams from the seventh circuit court of appeals.
8:35 pm
not need any introduction. even if she did, judge williams will be doing it over the next hour. we will have a fabulous person who will lead you through the phenomenal career. what i will -- i would like to introduce you to judge williams. the mother known as of equal justice works because in 1991, six years after she joined the bench -- can you believe it? she is so young looking, it is incredible. [inaudible] [laughter] awarded judge williams the leftover funds in an antitrust case, which gave us the funding to create our postgraduate fellowship program. at the time, seven fellowships and now, 300. judge williams, thank you. we are forever indebted to you. [applause]
8:36 pm
judge williams was the first attorney of color in the u.s. attorney's office in chicago. she was a division chief and and served as the -- on the u.s. district court. she is the person and only judge of color on the u.s. court of appeals for the seventh circuit. [applause] judge williams founded just the beginning foundation, a pipeline organization that aims to increase diversity by inspiring more young people to pursue legal careers. before we begin, i want to turn to our speakers and introduce you to this extraordinary audience. these are the next-generation of public interest lawyers and i have come from all over the country to interview for public interest jobs. we are thrilled having here and i will turn it to judge williams. judge williams: thank you,
8:37 pm
david. [applause] good afternoon. i know we can do better than that. good afternoon. >> good afternoon! judge williams: you cannot imagine how excited we all were that she said yes. yes to equal justice works because her heart has been with she devoted so much of her life to helping make things better in the world using her legal career. conferences to this and career fair, yes to having this conversation. she is a rock star as you know. to understand how it is you became such a force, we begin at the beginning. you grew up in brooklyn, wonderful parents.
8:38 pm
your mom did complete high school. your dad did not. russia andare in austria. your mother gave you some advice that stuck with you on your life. what did she say? my mother was born at an age where there were many things women could not do. the myth was a girl was to grow , andind prince charming live happily ever after. mother -- i suppose my mother hoped that i would find her strumming one day but she was she instilled in me was the independent. be able to depend on yourself. she told me to be a lady. but she meant by that was do not ay to emotions that
8:39 pm
are unproductive, like anger or jealousy or remorse. they will not moving forward, so forget it. [laughter] that was the advice my wonderful mother gave me and repeated again and again. judge williams: and your mom really believes in education and believed in reading and books. library taking to the every week. the library was above the chinese restaurant, right? and there were some books that you liked. in particular, nancy drew. how many of you know about nancy drew? wow! this generation knew about it. [laughter] hown't nancy affect you -- -- how didt youdid nancy affect you? girl outwas the only there doing things, including leading her boyfriend around.
8:40 pm
everything else was in the chicken chain variety -- dick wasjane variety were dick having all the fun and jane had a pink party dress that she was trying not to soil. i had nancy drew those fake and one real one that was amelia ehrhardt. judge williams: you are actually in the orchestra. the twirlers, the newspaper. your mom became ill in high school and you used to study by her bedside. when you are confirmed or sworn in, you said your mom was the bravest or strongest person you have ever known.
8:41 pm
taken from you much too soon. but she continues to inspire you today, doesn't she? died just when i turned 17. she had been suffering with ovarian cancer for four years. to succumbed she was an amazingly intelligent person, that the time, women .idn't have the opportunity to remember doesn't -- she remembered as a teenager marking in the parade. which was growing up, women didn't even have the vote. judge williams: you never got --
8:42 pm
because for girls, you never got a bar mitzvah. when you went about all-girls camp, you had an opportunity to be the rabbi. [laughter] >> because it was an all-girls camp. [laughter] my dear colleague was the first mitzvah. a bar judge williams: and then you did so well in school, you end up going to cornell. next slide, please. you decided to major in government. you wanted to be a high school teacher. at what point did you decide you wanted to be a lawyer? >> it must have been around my sophomore, junior year. first, i tried of student teaching at ithaca high school and didn't love it. [laughter]
8:43 pm
i was supposed to teach about the spanish-american war. i got the syllabus. the unitedrything states it was right. everything the other side did was wrong. and history was that way. [laughter] i have a wonderful professor for constitutional law. he wanted me to appreciate the united states was going through some rather bad times. it was the heyday of senator joe mccarthy from wisconsin. red scare inuge the country. people who had become to -- who had belonged to socialist youth groups were being called under the house of americans investigation committees. my professor pointed out to me
8:44 pm
there were public interest lawyers standing up for these people. members onongress constitution -- our constitution of the first amendment. it says, you have a right to write as you and believe and not as a big brother government tells you. and you have a privilege against self-incrimination, please do not have to answer questions being put to you. lawyers -- that gave me the idea that lawyers who are trying to make the society stay in tune with its most basic values. i thought, well, you can earn a living as a lawyer and then you can do things to make things better in your community.
8:45 pm
judge williams: on the fly, it shows your college years. not only did you get inspired with your lawyer, you actually met your future husband. >> yes. my first or, his second year at cornell. he was a very special fellow. judge williams: the slide is not up on the college years. if you could put that up for us because i love that slide. don't all of you? i love that slide. sorry, justice. go ahead. >> the thing that was special was the onlys he way i had met up until then who cared that i had a brain. [laughter] judge williams: you were 17 and he was 18 and you are married for 56 years. as a wedding gift to you, your
8:46 pm
mother-in-law evelyn give you a gift. you actually got married in your home. twitted by stitching give you -- what advice did she give you? >> to tell me just before we have the ceremony. she took me aside to the bedroom and said, i would like to send you the secret of a happy marriage. yes, what is it? [laughter] "it helps, now and then, to be a little deaf." notas wonderful advice, only in a marriage that lasted 56 years, but even to this day in dealing with my colleagues. [laughter] [laughter] [applause]
8:47 pm
judge williams: so then you did get married. you have your earplugs. go back one more on the script. you got married and you -- marty, he wasn't drafted. he went into the military. he started at harvard then he had to go to the military. you moved to oklahoma to the social security office and that is when you first ran into real disparity and how it affected you. tell us about that. >> i worked at the social security office and oklahoma. inad -- even oklahoma. -- oklahoma. i took an exam and i thought i should tell the head of the office that i was three months pregnant. then wepregnant, well,
8:48 pm
will put you at the bottom, the lowest government rating. a ts2. you will do the same job but at the lower rank. and we cannot possibly send you to baltimore for training. you will certainly quit before your baby is born. it hadn't occurred to me that things would be that way, but i accepted it. then he realized there was a chance when you move back that you have the opportunity to go to law school. on thean have that slide law school years up on the screen so everybody can see that. admitted to harvard, there were nine women in your class. >> my husband's classified
8:49 pm
women. [laughter] judge williams: and you did very, very well. you are very high in the class. -- were youst woman the first woman in the harvard law review? >> no, there was one other women and a clap -- one other woman in a class before mine. harvard didn't admit women until 1951. there had been two women before that. judge williams: so number three. marty got a job in new york and you transferred to columbia. and you were number one there. is that right? >> tied. judge williams: you are tied for number one. as you can see, the justice is really precise. what we need on the supreme court. do we not?
8:50 pm
4:00 that had a an impact. can that go back on the screen? it meant something special. what was that? babysitter that the had time to leave. she was a new england type, very caring. she went at it in the morning and she looked at 4:00 -- she in at 8:00 :00 in the morning and left at 4:00. i worked very hard until it was time to go home. we sang silly songs . we looked at picture books. she had her dinner. by that time, i was more than content to go back to the law books. my life, each part of it was a rest from the other.
8:51 pm
being with an infant, back to the books. books to -- judge williams: before we move on, there's one other thing about those law school years. unfortunately, marty got sick and you had to deal with his classes and recovery. cancer ina form of days before there was anybody who heard the word chemotherapy. the only thing there was was massive surgery plus radiation. radiation was not very precise and the sta -- in those days. it was most distressing to have to go through that. supposed to be a competitive place. i did not experience it that way because our classmates rallied around both of us.
8:52 pm
i took notes in his classes, visited in his hospital. when he came home, they had tutorials in our apartment. the result was marty got the best grades he ever got. [laughter] two he showed up for just weeks of classes. his classmates were the best. judge williams: notwithstanding the fact you were number one at columbia. it is time for you to look for a -- everyhad a law firm firm you apply to, 14 rejected you. right now, there were 3% women in law school when you went through and there are 51% women -- there has been progress. you had a very hard road to hope. what strikes to you have against you? jew and theyas a
8:53 pm
were just beginning to accept jews. second, i was a woman and many firms said, sorry, we had a lady once and she was awful. [laughter] but how many men did you hire that didn't work at they thought you would? who was four jane years old when i graduated law school. but if the firm was willing to ake a chance on a woman, mother was a bit much. judge williams: one of your professors came to your aid and approached -- the southern district of new york. what kind of proposition was given? -- it came with a with a carrot and stick.
8:54 pm
give her a chance. if she doesn't work out, there is a man in a downtown firm, he will jump in and take over the reins. if you do not give her a chance, i will never recommend another columbia student to you. [laughter] the judge was fiercely loyal to columbia. he was a columbia undergraduate. columbia law school. is professor, jerry guenther, -- this professor, jerry guenther, was a renowned professor of law. he never told me about this until years and years later. after that, you studied in sweden. that had a huge impact on you and really informs how you move forward in terms of women's
8:55 pm
rights and your approach to the law. what was that experience about? >> i was sent off to sweden to write a book with a swedish co-author about their judicial system. why sweden? they decided they would have a new code of procedure and it to beincorporate with -- the best of the anglo-american system. it was kind of a blend of the civil law way and the common law approach. it had been in effect long enough to report on it. when i went off to sweden, i discovered something. in my law school class, women were treated badly there. already inthey were
8:56 pm
20% or 25% of the offices. wait a minute an. i watched a preceding. the processing judge was eight months pregnant. there were a counterpart of jurors sitting on the bench with her. who wrote awoman in the daily paper to this effect. why should the women have two jobs and the man only one? int she meant by that was the 60's, it was -- in the 1960's, it was accepted that for a family to do well economically, the woman was expected to have dinner on the table at 7:00, to have his slippers ready for him, to take
8:57 pm
to get them' medical checkups. what she meant was he should do more than take out the garbage. that stimulated a lot of conversation. some women said, she is absolutely right. others said, i can do beeything, the queen type. i wouldn't think of asking him to help me do what i can very well do. had thet she certainly the author.s, two parents,ly has caregivers. two i was in the early 1960's and i decided that was the right way to go.
8:58 pm
she also wrote an eye-opening sex." iled "the second put it on the back burner because times are not yet right. those taking a big step forward. judge williams: oftentimes got right. you are a law professor from 1962 to 1980. you also started the women's rights law reporter. you were the first tenured professor at both schools women. justice ginsburg: first was at columbia. [laughter] judge williams: one of the things that you noticed at both schools was that your pay was not equal to male professors ' pay.
8:59 pm
how did you handle that? justice ginsburg: i was hired in 1963. that was the year that the equal pay act passed. my good dean, he wasn't very a good and kind man he , explained to me i would have to take a significant cut in salary. i expected that because this was a state university. when he told me how much, i was startled. i asked, how much do you pay so and so? a man who's been out of school about the same time. he said, ruth, he has a wife and two children to support. your husband has a good paying job with a new york firm. that was considered highly right andred entirely proper. .
9:00 pm
there were women whose eyes were opening at rutgers. not only the entire campus, without making a big -- equal pay act was brought. it was settled in 1969. the lowest increase was $6000. in those days, that was quite bit more than it is today. dean learned from that experience. [laughter] judge williams: so here is the lesson. here was a young, law professor wrong that needed to be righted. sometimes you look at her, you think, she's born with gavel in her mouth. she was young just like all of you and needed to do something.
9:01 pm
she got involved. she stood up to get it corrected. that's the lesson. can we have that slide again? it turns out your daughter also followed in your footsteps and you were the first mother-daughter tenured women at columbia. justice ginsburg: yes. judge williams: the other thing you did, it was not just an issue of your pay and the professor's pay, you were very concerned about the maids and janitors. there was disparity there as well, right? justice ginsburg: it was my very week teaching at columbia law first school. now this is 1972. and a feminist came to me and columbia, today, gave lay off notices to 25 maids and not a single janitor. what are you going to do about it? [laughter] justice ginsburg: so i went immediately to the vice
9:02 pm
president in charge of business. and i told him columbia is , violating title 7. and you should combine the seniority list if you must lay off people, then you do it by seniority with women and men together. i was told, we are represented by a very good firm. so thank you for expressing interest, and would you like a cup of tea? [laughter] justice ginsburg: so that friday injunction notice of going forward with the layoff notices. before that, there was a press conference at columbia that had some very outstanding women there. gloria steinem and others.
9:03 pm
of women'she equal opportunities commission said a -- sent asel down chief counsel down for the preliminary injunction. the union, whose contract called for separate sonority between men and women, so every woman would have to go before the first man was fired, the union switched sides. and columbia was astonished. they were there all alone. they protested to the union representative this was your , contract that we signed. well, we can't enforce a contract that violates title 7. [laughter] justice ginsburg: so the injunction, the preliminary injunction was issued, and low
9:04 pm
and behold columbia found it wasn't necessary to fire anyone. they could take care of the excess in the department by a -- by attrition. so people were not replaced. the women who were involved, they were remarkable. want -- they didn't care whether they were paid less than the men. they expected that. they wanted a job, they wanted to keep their job and didn't want to be forced on to welfare. they had very little self-esteem when it started. but in the process, they came to appreciate themselves as they should. two of them ended up being shop stewards.
9:05 pm
judge williams: you then -- with this kind of activity in this kind of leadership, wanted to focus on women's rights issue. and you cofounded the aclu women right process. at some point, you were pregnant again, but you handled it a little differently. justice ginsburg: yes. i didn't announce that i was pregnant. [laughter] i was at thatrg: time on a year-to-year contract. and i feared that if i told the dean that i was pregnant, my contract would not be renewed. so instead i borrowed my , mother-in-law's clothes. the ever supportive mother-in-law. she was one size larger. i was able to get through the spring semester. bornn conveniently was early in september. and then on the last day of classes, i said to my colleagues
9:06 pm
, when i come back in the fall there will be one more in our family. that ended the speculation about my gaining lot of weight. [laughter] judge williams: and so then in that project, working with the aclu and women's rights project, you won five out of six cases before the supreme court. is reid versus reid. firstwomen have the right to serve as the administrator of an estate. military housing benefits for husband, equals wives. the one that you lost at the time but later won, crime property tax exemption. not equal for surviving husbands and wives. you one child care survive meant -- survivor benefits for mens equal wives. and finally women have the right , to serve on a jury. so when we look at these cases, and i just have to get to the
9:07 pm
one, it took a while, but in 1988, the florida legislature amended a statute. you focused a lot on men and their rights in your strategy. why was that? justice ginsburg: first, to illustrate that the discrimination in the law laws , that divided people into separate spheres. the home and raising children, that was the woman's sphere. if a woman had a job, she was considered a secondary pin money earner, not the earner who counted, so she is not going to get protection for her family in social security laws. man whosenvolved a wife was a math teacher in high school.
9:08 pm
she had a very healthy pregnancy. the doctor came out and reported to stephen, your wife gave birth to a healthy boy. but she died of an embolism. he vowed he would not work full time until the child was in school full day. and he figured that between the , social security benefits and earning up to the earnings limit under social security, he could just about make it. when he went to the social security office, he was told, we're sorry, these are mother's benefits and not available to fathers. when that case was presented to the supreme court, we explained that the discrimination began with the attitude toward women.
9:09 pm
had paid the same social security taxes that a man had paid, but when she died her family did not get the same benefits that a man's family would get. so this discrimination starts a with the woman. parent isan as disadvantaged. he hasn't got a choice to spend time with the child. he has got to work full time. and then, the argument that , justice rehnquist -- it was totally arbitrary from the point of view of the baby. why should the baby have the opportunity from the soul providing parent if the parent , is female but not if the parent is male. the idea was, this
9:10 pm
discrimination against women, this was putting women in an off place in a man's world. it hurts everybody. it hurts men and hurts children. rick: and -- judge williams: and at this work that you did was recognized by president carter. in fact, university of chicago dean jeffrey stone said you were the single most important woman lawyer in the history of the republic. and you parallelled thurgood marshall. who was the most significant lawyer related to african-americans and others of color. when you were appointed to the court, it was by president jimmy carter to the court of appeals. and you made this statement, you never thought becoming a judge was possible. that was because everything that had gone before you. justice ginsburg: first i like to make a correction. [laughter]
9:11 pm
judge williams: all right. justice ginsburg: it is about the most remarkable thurgood marshall. technique in his trying to educate the court, take them one step at a time to the ultimate goal. thurgood marshall and his -- in his lawyering days when he morning in a southern town, he did not know he would be alive at the end of that day. my life was never threatened. so there is an enormous difference. cases andn he argued he would say to the court, separate but equal is not before the court today. these facilities are unequal. and when he had a sufficient number of building blocks, then me made the argument. the separation of children by
9:12 pm
race in school. that could never be equal. so that notion of leading the court to where you want them to go. but taking them, not attempting to take a giant step. but taking them there one step at a time. that was his technique. and it was a winning one. and we copied it. about being a judge, when i attended law school, there was only one woman in the entire history of the country who would ever served on a federal appellate bench. she was florence holland from ohio. she stepped down in 1959, the year i graduated, then there were none again until 1968 when
9:13 pm
president johnson appointed surely -- to the court of appeals on the ninth circuit. judge williams: and when you were appointed, there have been 12 before you. and when we look at the numbers in terms of the federal judiciary from 1789, 409 women in the state courts 31% have , been women. when we look at the district court, 12% now 26% historically, , 12% on the circuit, now 27%. this is on the federal court. and in the supreme court, out of the 113, four and now three out of nine, 33%. people certainly know that women are on the court. that's one of the points you made. and that women are here to stay. and you then went on to the supreme court.
9:14 pm
your nomination went 50 days , compared to what's going on now what's your wish or desire , or dream in terms of how nominations move through the system? justice ginsburg: before we get to president clinton, let me give a big plug for jimmy carter. i said that women were barely there. that was true for the members of minority groups as well. jimmy carter looked a the -- at the federal bench, he said, they all look just like me. they're all men and they're all white. but that's not how the great united states looks. he looked in places that people did not look for. and he said i am going to , appoint members of minority
9:15 pm
groups and women not as one at a time curiosities, but in numbers. he only four years in office. he had no vacant seats on the u.s. supreme court to fill. but he bitterly changed the complexion of the u.s. judiciary. and no president went back to the way it was. so reagan was inspired to appoint the first woman to the supreme court. so it was jimmy carter who was not a lawyer, who was responsible for this. judge williams: and you are absolutely right. the contributions he made was extraordinary. president clinton nominated you to the supreme court. the vote was 96-3. madene of the comments you
9:16 pm
was you had not accomplished anything alone. what did you mean by that, and how can that help these students as they move forward in their careers? justice ginsburg: not only didn't i do things alone, i had the people who were working with me. it's hard to be a loner. if you have like-minded people, working with you and you are supporting each other in what you are trying to accomplish that makes an enormous , difference. appointment, and this is also true of justice spryer who came a year later, there was a true bipartisan spirit in our congress. you can probably not imagine that today. [laughter] justice ginsburg: but my biggest
9:17 pm
supporter on the judiciary committee, the senate judiciary committee, was not then senator biden. he was the chair of the committee. he was certainly supportive. but my biggest supporter was orin hatch. i wonder whether he would touch me with a 10-foot pole if my nomination had come up in the current century. [laughter] but my hope isg: that we will go back one day, one day someone will blow a whistle, say a plague on both of your houses, let's get together and work for the good of the country. [applause] judge williams: could you give them a little window into what your hours are and the workload that you have? [laughter]
9:18 pm
hourse ginsburg: my depend on whether we're sitting. if we are sitting i get up 7:00 , in the morning. i try to get to the court by shortly after 9:00. so that is for those two weeks. the next two weeks, when we are doing two things, we're writing opinions and we are gearing up for the sitting that will follow. unusual -- my hours are unusual. my day starts around noon. [laughter] justice ginsburg: and then i work straight through the night and get maybe a couple of hours of sleep. judge williams: at 84. alright. there has been significant progress for women. , youou are famous for this know, do you think that's enough? justice ginsburg: the question
9:19 pm
that is put to me is, now you are three, and when do you think there'll be enough? isn't it obvious? when there are nine. [applause] and people at first reject that, but then they realize for most of our country, there have been nine people on the supreme court bench. all of them male and all of them white. judge williams: so one of the cases that you really are proud of is the virginia military institute case. something that was decided in 1996 that integrated it. now 194 women out of 1700. you made this statement.
9:20 pm
"i will never compromise when it's a question of freedom of speech, press or gender equality." you came back to campus in 2017. and that was quite a remarkable visit wasn't it? ,justice ginsburg: yes. the staff wanted me to come the year earlier to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the decision. i didn't quite make it but i got there in 2017. it was an exhilarating experience for me to see how much the school welcomed and appreciated women students. so these were women, many -- slide -- thes: the u.s. virginia military institute. is that up? ok. werece ginsburg: there
9:21 pm
many who wanted to be engineers, nuclear scientists. just about everything. the school as adjusted to their presence. the general in charge said in the beginning, it was a little rocky. and we made some mistakes. , ok, we have to take women but they will be treated just like the men. that means the day they come on campus, they will get their head shaved. well, you see from the pictures of the women, that they realized that that was not really necessary. [laughter] judge williams: and in terms of voting patterns it comes up a , lot and hold the slide for a minute. when we look at the statistics, court has cases the decided have been unanimous. 40% less than that. and only 20% of the hot button 5-4 cases. the cases that are listed here in areas that affect so much of our american society.
9:22 pm
and they're just hot button issues. how is it -- and there have been in the last 30 years, many chief justices. yet, you're able to work together. particularly you were asked about justice scalia who was on the opposite side. how are you able to manage that? what's important about what holds a court together? justice ginsburg: collegiality is essential in a multimember court. we can never do the important work assigned to us if we didn't genuinely respect each other and in most cases, genuinely like each other. i liked justice scalia. i met him first when he was on the faculty of the university of chicago law school.
9:23 pm
he gave a speech to the american law association on some administrative law issue. i disagreed with most of what he said. [laughter] justice ginsburg: but i was captivated by the way he said it. he was so amusing. and then we were buddies on the d.c. circuit. and the one thing we had in common is we both really tried hard to write comprehensible opinions. my style is quite different. his is attention grabbing. mine is milder. worked very hard about getting it right and keeping it tight. judge williams: in one of the cases, you really differed with him on bush versus gore. i think he told you take a hot bath. justice ginsburg: that was the
9:24 pm
end of the day. this was a marathon. the court granted review on saturday. brief filed sunday, oral argument monday, decisions and there were multiple opinions out on tuesday. it has been a long and trying day. and justice scalia called me into chambers, it was 9:00 at night. he said, ruth, why are you still at the court? go home and take a hot bath. it was good advice. [laughter] ask, after that, you had a sitting very soon after that, how did you work together? the answer is, we revealed the
9:25 pm
institution we serve, we know that we can't do its work if we're going to be at each other. so we went on to the january sitting. and it was almost the same. the interesting thing about bush versus gore, strongly as i disagreed with the results, the supreme court decided the case. there was no rioting in the street. everybody accepted the results. that's not true in many countries in world. judge williams: mhm. there was another case, lily ledbetter versus goodyear. you wrote a famous dissent in that case. and it had to do with the filing of the equal pay lawsuit when it had to be filed. and you said you were dejected, but only momentarily. these issues will come back
9:26 pm
again and again. there will be another time another day. , here that was corrected by the lily ledbetter fair pay act. and i know you have this photo in your chambers. one of the things that happens when you file a dissent, you wear a specific collar. right? justice ginsburg: yes. judge williams: right. justice ginsburg: everyone knows when i come into the court with that collar. [laughter] i do not -- ordinarily dissents are noted by the majority opinion author. and the dissent doesn't summarize the dissenting opinion. i did in the lily ledbetter case, because i wanted everybody to understand lily's situation. she was an area manager at a goodyear tire plant.
9:27 pm
she was the only woman who held that position at her plant. one day, someone put slip of paper in her mailbox with a series of numbers. the numbers she recognized right away. it was the pay of every area manager. and she saw that her pay was less than the pay of the much younger man she trained to do the job. so she said, i've had it. i want to sue. she brings the lawsuit. with an equal pay claim. and she got a sizable jury verdict. when it got to the supreme court, the supreme court accepted goodyear's argument that she sued too late.
9:28 pm
because title 7 says, you must complain to the eeoc within 180 days of the discriminatory incident. well, lily, you were discriminated against for a dozen or more years. you're way out of time. i tried to explain in the dissent, something that every working woman knows. that if you are the first woman in a job that has dominantly been held by men, you do not want to be perceived as a complainer and you do not want to rock the boat. so you go along. besides, if you did sue early on, you could be sure what the defense would be. the defense would be, it has nothing to do with her being a woman. she just doesn't do the job as well. but then her employer year after
9:29 pm
year, is giving her good employment ratings. so they no longer have the defense that she doesn't do the job as well. so she has a winnable case. but my colleagues said that she sued too late. my simple theory is that every time she receives a paycheck, the discrimination is renewed. it starts again. so she can sue within 180 days of her paycheck. and the tagline of my dissenting opinion was, the ball is in congress's court to correct the error into which my colleagues have fallen. [laughter] and there is president obama signing the lily ledbetter fair pay act. first piece of legislation he signed when he took office.
9:30 pm
and there, lily right behind him , and men women who were applauding what he did. and nancy pelosi is only one who didn't get the dress code. [laughter] judge williams: she didn't get the red memo. [laughter] judge williams: and then in chambers, you have a life -- you refer to your clerks as your family, and you made this statement so often in life, , things that are impediment turn out to be great. do you think you would have gotten that job as partner when you applied with one of those law firms that you'd be here today? justice ginsburg: it is a remark that justice o'connor made to me, she said, suppose we had lived at a time when women were accepted at the bar. you know what we would be today. you and i would be retired partners from some law firm.
9:31 pm
thought itime, we was not good that we weren't retired. but because we had go a different route, we ended up being supreme court justices. so we will never know. judge williams: very good thing. looking at balancing husband and work, if you could put the slide that life partner who thought your work was important as his. and marty was quite a chef. in the early days, you were also cooking for the family. and at some point, your daughter jane asked you to stop cooking. [laughter] was theginsburg: daddy company and the weekend cook. i was never allowed to cook for our weekend guests.
9:32 pm
i had a book called "60 minutes , chef." you get into the apartment and 60 minutes later the dinner is ready. i had seven things that i made. i went in order. i got to number seven, i went back to number one. [laughter] marty lovedburg: cooking. and he was quite an accomplished chef. so my daughter jane decided, daddy should do more than the company and weekend cooking. he should be the everyday cook as well. [laughter] justice ginsburg: so for me it was kind of like tom sawyer getting face painted. when marty died, jane took on the responsibility of making sure that her mother was properly nourished. so she comes once a month, spends all day cooking and fills
9:33 pm
the freezer with food, we do something nice together in the evening. and then she comes back the next month. so she will be here on november 13. [laughter] [applause] and incidentally, the evening lecture, ill be her do not remember where it is, but she is a world leading expert on copyright and trademark. so she will be speaking about it. judge williams: and you have said you cannot have it all, all at once. thinkour lifespan, you you have had it all. but you can not have it all at once right? and that wasburg:
9:34 pm
written by a well known woman complaining that men can have it all but women can't. i said, looking back at my long life, i have had it all. but not at one time. and in the marriage, you adjust to what the other needs. and so there were times, like when my husband was determined to become a partner in five years, that i was doing the lion's share of the homework. when the aclu women's rights project started marty realized , the importance of that work. when i first got my good job in dc, on the circuit people would ask me, is it hard going between your job and d.c. everyday? and i would say, why do you
9:35 pm
think i am doing that? [laughter] justice ginsburg: to show you some things are a lot better. when i was introduced that first year, reception, more often than not, when judge was introduced, the hand went out to marty. be, she iswould judge ginsburg. i'm still hopeful. [laughter] judge williams: and also, if we go into your hobbies. we will not go into all of her hobbies, but you love music. you've actually been on stage in and an opera was named after you and scalia. so that was quite a moment for you when you were on stage with justice scalia and the opera. justice ginsburg: i was on stage with him as a super, as an extra twice.
9:36 pm
-- i am monotone so, i could not play my own part. but it is a wonderfully amusing opera. and it sets the difference between two of us. so his opening is a rage aria. -- how could they possibly spout this? the constitution says absolutely nothing about this. and i explained to him, he's searching for bright solutions to problems that don't have easy answers. but the great thing about our constitution is that like our , society, it can evolve. that is the difference. is basedis, the plot
9:37 pm
on the magic flute and scalia is lost in a dark room and he is being punished for excessive dissenting. [laughter] and i have to break through the glass ceiling to help him. [applause] man who is testing scalia says, why would you want to help him? he's your enemy. and i say he's not my enemy. , he's my friend. and then we sing a duet. we were different, we are one. different in our approach to legal, reading legal text, but one in our reverence for the u.s. . constitution and for the institution we serve. judge williams: so your son has your love for classical music and opera. and he started his own company. marty was the chair of his
9:38 pm
first board. an award is given in his honor. and patrice, your daughter-in-law, is quite an exquisite singer. so classical music. and your other hobbies, you have many traveling, music, working , out, 1999. so who got you on that path? that was marty again. justice ginsburg: yes, at the end of my bout with colorectal cancer -- and marty said you , look like a survivor of a concentration camp. you have got to do something to build yourself up. so i asked around and gladys kessler who was a district court judge, said i have the right person for you. judge williams: put that slide up again. working out. works ininsburg: he the d.c. district court clerks time hebut in his spare
9:39 pm
is a personal trainer. so i have been with him since 1999. judge williams: and the book is already out. she does 20 military type push ups. she does 30 planks. i mean, holding it for 30 seconds. so she has actually left a white house dinner so she could make her appointment with bryant. now justice kagan does kick boxing. justice ginsburg: no, she does real boxing. judge williams: and real boxing. and hasn't just as prior now signed up -- just as prior now signed up? and he says, she is tough as nails. then we have the making of the notorious rbg, which the two commenting on your shelby county decision and hobby lobby. those dissents.
9:40 pm
and you didn't even know who notorious was? justice ginsburg: he told me about notorious b.i.g. and so i looked up about him. and i said, we have something very important in common. what do you have in common with notorious b.i.g.? we were both born and bred in brooklyn. [laughter] [applause] but i think, the second year in why you student, when she thought of this it was after the shelby county decision. she was angry. she thought that the court's decision was egregiously wrong. and then what i said before about not wasting time being a -- of she said i will
9:41 pm
being angry, she said i will do something positive about this. this and ited starts with my dissent in the shelby county case. and it has gone on from there. judge williams: so she involved from extraordinary justice to notorious. keep the slide up. there are other things coming. i particularly like the princess gown you are wearing. all the t-shirts. and the little girls imitating you. and this is my favorite t-shirt. and then there were many books written about you, even before you became notorious. now we have coloring books and storybooks for children and more books have come out about you. and in fact, your own words, which was published october 4, 2016. how does it feel to be so notorious?
9:42 pm
[laughter] amazing,insburg: it is 85, everyoneto wants to take a picture with me. [laughter] rick: and -- judge williams: and in fact aere will be abiotic -- biotic. felicity jones will be playing you. justice ginsburg: at this moment they are in montreal already filming it. judge williams: we'll look for that. i love this, women belong in all places where decisions are made. little girls who look like a justice in every respect, earrings, gloves. [laughter] judge williams: and you are not just a role model for those little girls, but you were a huge role model for me. one time i was president of the , federal judge's association, i
9:43 pm
was at the white house. hold that frame. i had to introduce president bush to our group of about 600 federal judges and spouses. and there was a letter that you wrote to me in may, let me get of 2001, a letter that i have had in my scrapbook, my whole career as a judge. done,heers on a job well particularly impressed by your words at the white house. conveyed the message in an appealing way, hope the second branch really listens with every good wish for your life and work 's next chapter. so that was something that's inspired me. you were such a role model and of course, i know that you're a role model for everyone. and anybody who's come into her life, she's a role model but she inspires. we look at now lessons that you
9:44 pm
have, and are there any you want to point to that you would like to discuss with the students before we open it up to questions? any particular one? because these are all things that you said. justice ginsburg: i would just like to make a comment about this audience. i'm so glad that there are so many bright young people who want to make the world a little better. who want to repair the tears in our community. i have a granddaughter who just graduated from law school, she has a clerkship now but after that she wants to have a public interest job. and i have a step grandson who is in his first year of law school. and he is already inquiring about public interest work that he could do this summer after his first year.
9:45 pm
i have said, if you are just going to engage in work a day lawyering. you have a skill and you are pretty much like a plumber. but if you are a true professional, then you will use at least some of your time to work to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you are. so i applaud this audience. ,and i wish you very satisfying careers working in the public interest. judge williams: and you have said, recently i think, you have said that you think if hillary clinton had been a man, she would have won the election. and you have also said that we are not in the best of times but , you're an optimist.
9:46 pm
so tell us about your hope for the future. justice ginsburg: yeah, i borrowed a line from martin the ark of, who said the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. and to that i add if there are , enough people who care about world, to do the necessary for us to keep our planet safe for our children and grandchildren, and to say that are most enduring values are fully respected. ofge williams: so in terms
9:47 pm
-- i have to ask this question. our final two questions, how long, justice, will you remain on the court? justice ginsburg: i used to have an answer that worked for a lot of years. the justice -- he was the same age as i was and he stayed for 23 years. so i expect to stay at least as long. -- i now i have passed him have passed my tenure, so my answer is as long as i can do the job. the job full speed, i will do it. [applause]
9:48 pm
judge williams: you had said that you had prayed that you would be all that your mother would have been if she had lived in an age when women could have aspired and achieved and cherished as much as their sons. i think we can all agree here, you have been way more than your mother could have dreamed or imagined. transformative, phenomenal, inspirational, that is who we have before us. justice ruth bader ginsburg. [applause] justice ginsburg: thank you. judge williams: can we do a couple of questions? she wants -- can she do a couple?
9:49 pm
>> if she would like to. sure. do you want to? justice ginsburg: yes. judge williams: let's do three. [chatter] judge williams: she has the mic. you have to hold it. >> hi. judge williams: and tell us your name and your school and what year. >> my name is elizabeth hyde, i'm a second year mccain knee -- mckinney school of law in minneapolis. and out of your entire tenure on the bench, what is one decision or opinion you think should have gotten more attention, and whose significance has been overlooked? justice ginsburg: there are a few decisions, very few supreme court decisions that do not get attention. i spent 13 years on the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit.
9:50 pm
and i would say, although i worked very hard on my opinions there too. i realized they were not going to be widely read. even so, i gave each case at the -- each case the best i could give it. so in general, i do not think back about, did this opinion get enough attention or not, just that i was given very good advice. a senior on the d.c. circuit when i was a new judge, it was judge edward tan, and he said, you are going to work very hard on these sometimes complex cases but when the opinion is , released, do not look back. do not worry about things that are over and done. go on to the next and give it your all.
9:51 pm
so my advice is be a forward-looking person. judge williams: another question. she needs a microphone. although we can all hear you. [laughter] >> i do not need one. but thank you. , justice, judge williams, thank you so much for being here. judge williams: your name and school and your year. >> my name is evelyn batista, i go to nova southeastern university. in florida, fort lauderdale. and i read your autobiography. and if you have not gotten it, i would recommend it. justice ginsburg: it's not an autobiography. it is selected speeches i have given articles i written. ,the two people who are on that
9:52 pm
book with me, those are my official biographers. they started in 2004. our original idea was that the biography would come out and then a book of selected writings. that's 2004 to now. ago,suggested a few years why don't we flip the order and let's do this first. so that is how my words came to be. judge williams: and let me give a pitch for the book. if you go to the supreme court gift shot, there are autographed copies of that book. and also marty's cookbook, which is a number one bestseller. supreme court chef. go ahead with your question. >> thank you for the correction. my only question for you is, i have seen that you have been through a lot in your personal life and as a woman on the bench. and we have discussed a lot about the need for more women
9:53 pm
in the on the bench and legal profession. what advice would you give to our male counterparts to help support women's leadership? because i do not want to make them feel like they are less out of the discussion. i know a lot of allies that want to help but they're not sure , how. justice ginsburg: i can think of one advice, perhaps not to tell your peers, but one of the things i tried to do when i was presenting gender discrimination cases in court was, to get the judges to think about what they would like the world to be for their daughters and their granddaughters.
9:54 pm
that's one answer. another is, when the women's movement came alive at the end of the 1960's, and i realized there was a possibility to get rid of all these arbitrary gender based lines if the law. went to thew, i aclu. i did not go to the all women's group, because if this change was going to be made solid it , had to be men working together with women. men putting what i call equal citizenship stature for men and women high on their human rights agenda. together with freedom of speech, equal citizenship stature. many of the men , i worked with originally might have had doubts. when they realized what the
9:55 pm
history was and how arbitrary that the limitations on what -- could dodo work, were, they became feminists. judge williams: another question? we need a microphone over there. >> my name it reina, i'm a recent graduate of law in florida. and i am a fellow sponsored by the florida bar association. [applause] >> thank you. it is an honor to hear you speak today. in my last year of law school, i focused on native american rights. our teacher often referred to as -- it as the exception to exception. we would open our books and look
9:56 pm
at the opinions and look and say, it is ginsburg, what's going on. and we would look at opinions ginsburg. and it is clearly ginsburg, but it's scalia. one of those cases that shook me and that still to this day confuses me was the oneida you , don't look back and you're forward thinking. after that case, we had adoptive couple be a baby girl. would you consider that your forward progression of thinking when oneida crippled the native american community that you fought in your dissent that your agreement of the sotomayor dissent, was that your moving forward to rectify something of the past? justice ginsburg: when you are on the losing side, you have to remain hopeful in this way. yes, maybe the court did not get
9:57 pm
it right today, but they will have another opportunity. and when i think of the history of the u.s. supreme court think , back to the time around world war i. when people who were opposed to the draft and expressing their views were arrested and charged with some criminal offense. there were two justices at the said free speech. ,these people have a right to speak their mind. and the law shouldn't touch them for doing just that. they spoke just for themselves. but in the fullness of time,
9:58 pm
those first amendment free -- dissents are the law of the land. the hope is that, i think it was who said,ice hughes the center is often writing for a future day. -- dissent is writing for a future day. a future day when the majority will understand something they misperceived at an earlier time. judge williams: and the issue of gay rights has been something that has seen evolution as well with the court. justice ginsburg: yes. me, whatou once asked accounts for the burst of progress in that area?
9:59 pm
and i think i said to you, there is a big difference between how our society has come to respect whatever their sexual preference. and race discrimination. and to our sadness, our country is still segregated in many places. people live in different neighborhoods. but when the gay rights movement got to the point where people said i'm not going to be in the , closet anymore. i am going to say who i am and i proud of it. am we looked around, who are these people?
10:00 pm
they were our child's best friend. our next-door neighbor. sometimes our child. they were part of we. so it was not the same we, they theration that has retarded in the of race discrimination. judge williams: final question. involved in nato. i heard the rumors and stories. i hate to admit i thought it was somebody else. in 1942, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. he bumped her knee on her
10:01 pm
years old. 5 they said, take her leg. we done think she'll live. she spent a month in the the hospital. she went to privateer school. she graduated valedictorian in high school. she went on to college. she married and had myself and brother and she took twins to term. but they died. my mother had breast cancer at 30. she had to have double mastectomies. she was first chemopatient ever. 1980's.on in the it changed again when she had is 1990's.he much more pinpointed. an inspiration my mother. my life has been trying to fulfill some kind of shoes that i never could. as much as i love it, it's such an awesome burden to be the one that continues to go through walls. you get bloody when you're the first. judge williams: so your question is.
10:02 pm
is, it's very personal. on the days, the moments where and it's heavy to what dootorious r.b.g., you do? justice ginsberg: the question -- hat do i do judge williams: when you get overburdened, you get overwhelmed. look at citizens united and some of the other cases that are your ng when we read dissent. how do you go on, how do you next step? >> you are an inspiration to so of that le, the weight does that affect -- justice ginsberg: one of the lot is myt helps me a family. my daughter and my son and now four grandchildren and two step grandchildren. they help me through both of my cancer bouts.
10:03 pm
another is realizing the of what i'm doing. i can't give way to any kind of can stop for a moment. i read a chapter of a book. listen to a recording. before i was on the supreme court, i would take a walk by myself. [laughter] justice ginsberg: stop for a while and then go back to it and realize that it's very important that it be done and be done right. judge williams: so that is the last answer by the justice. want to present you, justice, though, with a bouquet
10:04 pm
my favorite artist in kenya. ustice ginsberg: oh, how beautiful. judge williams: these are beaded lowers, hand flowers. you represent so much and you're a thing -- a woman of beauty and strength and inspiration. we hope these will help inspire you on those days when you need inspiration. so you will stay there forever. [laughter] [applause] [applause] >> they are beautiful! [applause]
10:05 pm
>> tomorrow night we'll take you to the human rights campaign washington, d.c. with hillary clinton. jeff bezos hlg o. harris.tor you can listen live with the bookin us this weekend for tv live at the texas book festival in austin. saturday at ns 11:00 a.m. eastern and includes "code girls," "thursday night lights," the story of football in hool texas. kevin young, "the right of humbugs, phonies, fake news."
10:06 pm
farewell to ice, a report from the arctic. of book, the life and times michael a. ruthless why the world of smuggling. sunday, our live coverage starts at 3:00 p.m. eastern with with her book unspoken troup of the divide." the true stories of the drug f.b.i., and the battle for horseracing dynasty." and authors of "violated, at baylor pe university among college football sexual assault crisis." live xas book festival saturday and sunday on c-span 2's book t.v.
10:07 pm
unfolds here history daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company that is today by your cable or satellite provider. "washington oted journal" to looking to the thementof sexual harass in the workplace. this is an hour. " continues. "washington joul joining us is the commissioner of the equal employment opportunity commission here to help us about our conversation about sexual-harassment and the work place. eeoc andhe


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on