tv Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg My Own Words CSPAN December 24, 2019 9:08pm-10:06pm EST
booktv covers book book fairs and festivals around the country. here's what's coming up. by 2020 festival season will kick off in january with a barrage writer in california. followed by this event the festival in georgia. and emerge from book tv visits arizona for the tucson festival of books. in live and the virginia festival about will take place in charlottesville. for more information about upcoming book fairs and festivals, and much of previous possible coverage click the book fairs tab on the website. bookkeeping .org. . [screaming]. good morning.
i hope you all have been enjoying yourselves this morning. [applause]. now, we have a rather large crowd this morning for this particular event. this way very thrilled to introduce our next program. for the past year, at the library of congress, lisa down. [laughter]. i have a few more things. for the past year the library of congress we have been celebrating changemakers i can think of a few people who more than that fit the description that the united states supreme court justice ruth ginsburg. [applause]. . [screaming]. okay.
she is our hero and inspiration to so many of us. in fact at 4:00 a.m. this morning, she turned from american university. [laughter]. [applause]. cans out in front of this facility. camp out. and they are here. she says, but talk about your graduation, gloomy law school and taught at colombians it's been most of your career advocating on women's rights and all of these things. and then they called recently the beyoncé and jordan's prudence. [laughter]. in the just as i think, she said i would rather you see, the j lo prayed. [laughter]. [applause]. that went out further ado, she is joined by her co-authors of
her best-selling memoir, my own words, co-authors mary hartman, and doug professor at georgetown law, wendy w williams, professor at georgetown law, and are interviewer today, and the interviewer and the person you know very well from npr, nina totenberg. [applause]. [applause]. please be seated. [background sounds]
i have to tell you before i leave the stage, i brought things. [background sounds] >> this is quite an amazing group. i am very admiring of all of the people of been online for so many hours and waiting to see the justice. this allots even though she is the pretty little person. how did that happen.
i was caught about a month or so ago by jennifer lopez and she said she would like to meet me. and she would like to introduce beyoncé. [laughter]. so they came to cambridge and we had a very nice visit. she mostly wanted to ask if i had a secret about a happy marriage. but now iran is traveling with her. all of the world. . [screaming]. so what is your secret to a happy marriage. you pass on your mother-in-law secret. >> on the day i was married, my mother-in-law, she took me hillside and said she wanted to tell me what was the secret of a happy marriage.
and i said i would-be glad to hear it what is it. she responded, and sometimes to be a little deaf. [laughter]. that advice i have followed in every workplace,. [laughter]. including the java now have. [laughter]. you just turn it out it spotless. [applause]. i would personally advise, you listen to her. [laughter]. justice, we all know you have some health challenges in the last year, last month. yet radiation for most of
august. so let me ask the question that everyone here was fast. which is at what you feeling, where you will here instead of arresting up for the term. [laughter]. and are you planning on staying in your current job. [laughter]. >> versus audiences you can see, i am alive. [laughter]. [applause]. and i am on the way to being a very well. [applause]. . [screaming]. somewhere you parents of arresting up. >> in the term, we have more than a month to go so i'll be
prepared when the time comes. [applause]. >> one think, and love my job. it is the best and hardest job i have ever had. it is coming going. instead of concentrating on makes and pains, i just know that i have to be someplace. i dropped an opinion so i have to be somehow whenever my or whatever's going on in my body. i concentrate on working. >> so you and more, and onwards.
this verse essentially into my mary and wendy. and you. in the first one, you said it has a lot of rumors from the time you are in grammar school writing for the school paper and an opinion pieces and do your supreme court opinion. and there's going to be a later authorized biography. these two writings even working on for some time. mary let me turn to you you about the upcoming book. >> i hesitate to ask this but i'm going to do it anyway. at least i have 4000 witnesses. when. >> preliminary, my own words, my official biography and marrying
wendy have been working many years. >> fifteen years. [laughter]. 2004. the idea is the biography will come out and will be followed by speeches in collections and opinions that i've given. will the years keep go on and on. it came to me that is my in many expected i would-be on the quote for some time, in the future. so then make the book complaint, they wanted to wait. i said okay. let's go through the order. semi selected writings first. and then the biography. >> and is the long list of an idea. [laughter]. >> you still haven't said when. [laughter]. and is my job to ask you questions. . [screaming].
this justice keeps doing things and will very happy about that. [applause]. and so, it will be the idea originally was that it would break the story i'm just a skimmer, it was before she was notorious but now. [laughter]. it will be complete full story and so we must wait until you have that. and hopefully i will not come out very quickly. >> well done mary. >> i talked to a little bit about the upcoming book and you wouldn't tell me much that there is a whole chapter about justice and scalia. justice ginsburg great friend, sparring partner, and
entertainer. in some ways. [laughter]. so tell me, tell me why there's a whole chapter about him and about your interview with him. so there's also a whole chapter about him in my own words. including justice ginsburg residences about justice giglio. and everyone i think knows about the unlikely friendship between the two. and you are feeling justice dileo was a real treat for the book. and we interviewed him for the biography but parts of that interview are in my own words. and as justice glia and skinned are so different and summing ways. going into his chambers, is very different. kindreds tumors are live very modern art. dozens or hundreds of pictures pictures of friend friends and families colleagues. going into scoliosis chambers dark and leathery, a big dead
animal looking down. [laughter]. so as i sat there interviewing justice glia, i watched how he went from the kind of tough person we know in the face just softened enlightened up as he talked about his good friend. he told several stories. one was when they traveled to india together. they went to visit the taj mahal. and justice glia described how he watched justice ginsburg listened to the tour guide describe the love story behind the building in the taj mahal. and he said he saw tears start to rain from her eyes. and as he told me that, 90 percent sure, i thought it to her not an opinion are sent come out. >> any of the story that he liked to talk about was
parasailing. justice ginsburg, when he was a young 70 -year-old,. [laughter]. who is in need for a legal exchange, and was standing in the hotel looking at water and saw all of these people parasailing greg and she turned away his bernardi and said, money that looks like fun, we should do that. [laughter]. and marty was horrified and sa said, are you crazy. and if you do that, i remember you to our grandchildren. in the house, said that off of parasailing with you. and his wife was equally horrified and said, if there's an accident, mckinley said one of you, and better not be you. [laughter]. so they would parasailing. in a way because she was a normal size human being, and
justice ginsburg, northwest and went up and down. and when he and i asked justice ginsburg about this experience a few years ago when we are interviewing her and said was like, did you like it. justice ginsburg said, it was marvelous. glorious and that she related a course to a greek myth. and sent it was like it corrects. but we did it get is it too close to the fund. [laughter]. >> the waves was also a problem. going to ride in a very elegant elephant. it was a photograph of it. my feminist friends ask why are you sitting in the back. [laughter]. i explained it had to do with the displacement. [laughter]. justice ginsburg you've always been a rather determined person.
we do in law school, your husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. doctor told you his chances of survival will extremely slim. but the truth you just carried on and as we all know, he survived. i have people here might be interested in what your days and nights will like that year. somehow in some ways you sleep patterns will like. >> is my second year law school in his third year there is massive surgeries followed by massive radiation and no chemotherapy no chemotherapy in those days. we took each day as it came. my routine was probably ten my classes and i had no takers in
these classes. no takers. in mass general the hospital where he was in the afternoon. and when he was released from the hospital, i was having radiation, he was first very sick and he was sleep. until about midnight when whatever food he ingested that day, he would have not my very not not very good cooking. [laughter]. and then about 2:00 o'clock morning, who he is also his senior papers to me. he went back to bed about two in the morning and that's when i hit the books. myself. in between was then, two and half -year-old daughter play. so for weeks, many weeks, obviously we may be obviously
two hours night. this harry became a night person. i appreciated that in those early morning hours, telephoned it rain. there will no e-mails in those days. it was a part of why it's time and i could concentrate. constrain the books. >> i hope you are getting more than two hours of sleep now. this meant i do know that if you want to call the ginsburg residence, you do not, on a day like we can, you do not call before noon. >> that's actually the sitting a's. chordates at all. so today women to some extent take for granted their their equality in the workplace but that was not the case and we do
are alone young where you can get a job in a law firm. not one but two strikes against you. >> your first geo and then. no firms would-be to walk coming to jews. next i was a woman. that was a height barrier. but the afternoons when i had a four -year-old daughter when i graduated from law school. >> your mother. >> so they took a chance on a woman, a mother was more than they were wheeling to risk. >> said top-ranked and harvard, in your last year of law school we do moved to new york you are tied for first place at columbia law school. you are applying for clerkships.
josé finally did get a courtship because nobody by and large wood interview you for the most part. >> that's right. in rock by about staying women are not welcome at this place. when a lady lawyer once. and she did work out. >> and how many men did you have the didn't work out. but i had a wonderful professor from law school who later stanford, jerry gunther. he was in charge of getting cards at columbia students. and he called every federal judge the second circuit, and the 70 district of new york, and he was now leaving her having
success. so called columbia graduates and said call perry. was a columbia undergraduate. and always took grace from columbia. and he would see, i strongly recommend that you engage with ginsburg. his response was, i've had women law clerks, another okay. she's mother. and sometimes we have to work on weekends. even on a sunday. so the professor said give her a chance and if she doesn't work out, a young man in her class was going to be downtown and he'll jump in and take over. so that was the counter.
it was also a stick. and the stick was if you don't give her a chance, i will never recommend another colombian graduate at your law firm. [applause]. that's the way was in the ancient days. for women. the big hurdle was to get that first job. once a woman got the job, she did it at least as well as the men. . . .
stanford law school. but no law firm would hire her. she was asked you type and maybe there would be a place as a legal secretary. so what did she do? she went to a county attorney and said, i will work for you without pay for four months. and if you think i'm worth it you can put me on the payroll. that's is how sandra day o'connor got her first job. >> even after your clerkship you can get a job in a law firm, you ended up being a law professor. i was going to a firm one another professor from columbia said, how would you like to write a book about the swedish judicial system?
>> this is a part of her life you will not hear generally discussed. you're in on a question that normally doesn't come up. >> this was an irresistible offer because here i was in my 20s before i turned 30 i would have a book between hardcovers marty and i married the same month i graduated from cornell. i never lived on my own i went from college dormitory to being married and in the eight year itch. i wanted to see if i could manage on my own. my daughter jane ãbwhen she
finished school she came and joined me in sweden. i got that out of my system and never again learned to live on my own. then there was the opportunity to live about a culture and to learn a language i knew nothing at all about. >> did you go to sweden? she went back to sweden this year. >> it was the 50th anniversary of my honorary degree from the university of luna. >> and you saw there b& your picture. >> yes. >> there are posters up and down the streets of one of the
many many events that the justice did in sweden. she wasn't daunted but we kept trying to see the poster as the car was moving through the streets and it was like that scene in the movie "french kiss" where they never see the eiffel tower. finally driving to the airport we turned and there it was. >> wendy, you been working on this book for 15 years with mary. did you interview all the justices she served with? how often did you interview her? what do you do when you have 15+ years? what is your agenda. >> wendy, before you answer, let me tell you how all of this began. [laughter]
wendy and mary came to see me and they said inevitably people are going to write about your life so why don't you make as your official biography people you really trust? i certainly trusted wendy. for the first time in history it became possible for courts to accept the equal protection clause meant that women were people equal in stature to men. [applause] [applause] so i knew wendy's tragedy and mine was pretty much the same. i knew that she understood what we were trying to accomplish. i said yes without hesitation. >> in fact, when we came to her
to talk about it she sat us down at a little table and on the table there was a stack of documents and opinions and other things about this high. she said, here's a little something that you might want to look at. that's how we knew we were in so to speak. >> did you in fact interview all the justices she served with? >> i did not interview any of the justices she served with but mary did. >> so between the two of you you interviewed them all. >> we did. >> actually not all of them but some about some of them that choose to be interviewed. and some newer additions we still plan to interview. but most of them. >> how often did you sit down with her for an extended interview?i'm assuming it's a lot. >> it's a lot. we started out in that little moment in time after she was
done with her summer and just before she had to knuckle down and prepare for the coming term and every year in august most often in the last week we sit down with her for three days in a row in the late afternoon. so we have our own big stack from that. and this year it was a little different, we went up to new york where she was getting her radiation treatment. it was amazing, anyway. we sat with her twice up there and she remembered everything. she was perfectly normal except she was very tired, which she has never let stop her and she wasn't letting her stop it then. that was a new experience for
us. but then we came back down for one day, the day before yesterday and did our third day. every year we would do that. then we would do a lot of things in between to keep track of them. >> let me just say this to you two here in front of god and everybody. justice brennan famously had an authorized biographer who got writers block after he died and somebody else eventually had to take over the project. >> and i'm getting old, is that what you are saying? [laughter] >> i'm saying you better not get writers block. >> we all want to see that. >> everybody here some of whom are great younger than me want to be ãbrelieved of the product of your labor. [applause] >> we do too. [applause] >> i'm taking for granted this is a very educated and curious
audience. i'm taking for granted that everybody in this room has seen rbg at least once. and on the basis as said. i'm not going to go through all of the cases and the strategy and all that justice is justice ginsburg. there are also a lot of young people in this audience men and women and i wanted to ask justice ginsburg, in light of that, and in light of all the conversation we have these days about balance between work and family life, tell us the story of the elevator seats. [laughter] >> the elevator seat was my lively thought. it was when he was in the sixth
grade i called him lively, his teachers called him hyperactive. and i would get calls about once every month to come down to the school to talk about my son's latest escapades. one day i was sitting in my office at columbia law school, the phone rang, it was the headmaster, we need to see you immediately. had been particularly weary that day because i stayed up all night writing a brief so i said, this child has two parents, please alternate calls. [laughter] [applause]
so they called marty head of the tax department, he came down and was told, your son stole the elevator. marty's immediate response was, he stole the elevator? how far could he take it? [laughter] so i don't know if it was marty's sense of humor, by the way the theft was it was one of those old-fashioned handheld elevators the operator went out one of james's classmates challenged him to take the kindergarten class up to the top floor. which they did. [laughter] after that episode, the calls came barely once a semester. there was no quick change in my son's behavior but the school
was much more reluctant to take the father away from his work then a mother. so the suggestion to alternate calls did the trick. [laughter] >> let me just add that son is today a fine human he's not in prison anywhere. >> is a great parent to two girls. >> and because she won't do it i will, he runs a thing called sandia records, see edi le and they produce magnificent classical recordings. that's my, that would be inappropriate for you to do but not me. [laughter] so let's talk about your time on the supreme court. your appointed by president
clinton you are assigned to write the virginia military institute case striking down the policy of exclusion of women. >> it's a very big workplace. justice o'connor would've been way ahead of me of the chosen opinion writer. but then he said ruth should write the opinion. i got to write the decision and the virginia military institute
case. >> you wrote in that case that most women indeed most men were probably not want to meet the demands the rigorous demands of vmi but those extraordinary individuals who can meet those demand and want to meet those man's should be permitted to. you are invited to vmi a little over a year ago. >> they invited to me to come to vmi at the 20th anniversary of the decision. my calendar was too crowded so it turned out to be the 21st anniversary. the change in that school has been enormous.
the commanding officer was so proud of his women cadet they live in the same spartan quarters that the men live in but they were so so enthusiastic, many of them are in the engineering program, one wanted to be an atomic scientist for the school. many women were able to upgrade their applicant pool considerably. [applause] [laughter] >> why did she leave out? >> she left out a ginsburg'sãbh
this is going to destroy vmi. i asked justice ginsburg about that later and she said to me, this was not so long after the opinion i think, she said to me with the utmost confidence, vmi will be a better place if there are women. and it will be destroyed and the wonderful thing about that was when we were there for the 21st anniversary, people there were so proud and excited to have you in person come there after you had transfigured the place.
that there was an audience almost as big as this and back there they were, would you call them? >> bleachers. all the cadets in their uniforms. for ruth bader ginsburg they all stood up and applauded. it was just remarkable. [applause] >> as it turned out just as scalia was the sole center of the vmi case. then chief justice rehnquist didn't join my opinion but did join the guest bed. justice thomas was accused because his son attended vmi. >> he couldn't participate. >> that left scalia all alone.
just as scalia knew i felt deeply about the case as he did the other way. he came to my chambers one day, through down a sheet of papers and said, this is the pen ultimate draft of my dissent in the vmi case, i'm not yet ready to start doing it to the court. but the clock was ticking and he wanted to give me as much time as he could to add his rather stripe and defense. >> you were going to the second service meeting, i was going to the judicial conference in lake georgia was on the plane opened up his dissent and absolutely ruined by week.
but i certainly wanted the extra time to respond. >> talking about vmi reminds me that when you get to the court justice o'connor of course was the first woman justice, she is there, she's been there for quite a while. >> 12 years. >> by herself. >> as you would later learn, that's no fun because you have to be the only one for a while too. >> she was a reagan appointee, she was a girl of the west, you are a clinton appointee you are from new york city i wondered, you very quickly established a very special bond. >> she was as close as i came to having a big ãbwhen i came on board she gave me advice not too much she didn't want to douse me with excessive
information, just what i needed to know to navigate those first few weeks. then she was in ãbin my first cancer about. she had a mastectomy and was on the bench nine days after her surgery. so she was going to tell me how to manage this. she said you schedule chemotherapy friday, that way you can get over it during the weekend and be back in court on monday. she also said, you are going to get, in those days there were not yet emails, you will get calls and letters all over, don't even try to respond. just concentrate on getting the courts work done. >> and not telling any secrets here when i say that when many
of the court's biggest cases of late you are in the minority on the defending side. but in the last five years or more you have pulled out some unexpected victories. i'm thinking of the court's 2015 decision upholding arizona's redistricting commission's these were created by state referendum by the voters to limit partisanship in the drawing of legislative districts in the state. will you tell the audience what your opinion says? >> what the opinion said? >> the opinion said, you upheld them, why? >> because something needed to be done about the partisan gerrymander. [applause]
>> california was in the lead and arizona the good voters of arizona were tired of drawing district lines when there was very little incentive to vote because your districts had been rigged it was either republican or democratic seats so your vote didn't count. that's not the way democracy should run. arizona and california had the idea, this is not done by state legislatures, state legislatures would not willingly give up the monopoly they had. the good people of the state said, this should be done, the redistricting should be done by an independent commission, not bipartisan members of the
legislature. so it's a constitutional question because the constitution says redistricting will be done by the legislature so some of my colleagues said legislature means legislature and it doesn't mean the people, to me it seems quite clear that the states had made the people who legislature produced purpose. they gave the deciding voice to the people to we the people and not the parts members of the legislature. and i think after that case, other states were encouraged him other states that had referendums. >> the decision that case was written by chief justice roberts and he argued very vigorously that the legislature means only the legislature. both were rude lussier a 5 ã
format conservative majority rules essentially that the voters have no ability to challenge extreme partisan gerrymander's in court. but at the same time, the opinions and this time majority of opinion written by chief justice seemed to suggest that other remedies like independent redistricting commissions provide alternative ways to address the problem of partisanship and redistricting. could you please explain what's going on here? have conservative change their minds about redistricting? is it just windowdressing or what. >> as one lives, one learns so i think the chief learned he was wrong. [laughter] [laughter] [applause]
>> i want you to look at this crowd and tell me, this is 4000 people, i'm not quite sure, next week you and i are going to another interview in little rock arkansas in a venue that holds 18,000 people and not only are all the pickets gone, there is a waiting list of 16,000 people. [applause] so, my dear, notorious rbg, how does it feel to be a cultural and pop icon in your 80s? [laughter] [cheering]
[cheering] [applause] >> it's amazing. [laughter] at the age of 86, everybody wants to take a picture of me. the notorious rbg was started by second-year student at new york university law school. she was dismayed about the decision the court had recently rendered the shelby county case. that held key provision of the voting rights act of 1965. then she thought to herself, and angry about that. but anger will not get me anyplace so i'm going to do something positive, the positive things she did was put
on the internet on tumbler in the announcement i made from the bench of my defending opinion in the shelby county case should cool the new ãb she had in mind a well-known wrapper in the notorious big. people asked me, what in the world you have in common with the notorious big. i said it's evident. [applause] we were born and bred in brooklyn new york. [laughter]
>> by the way when you and justice o'connor were on the court, even at the end of her tenure, some very seasoned supreme court advocates, not newbies, releasees and people, kept confusing you they would call you justice o'connor and her justice ginsburg and excuse me, you don't look anything alike. she had at least six inches on you. her hairstyle was different, her accent was different. why? >> for 12 years sandra day o'connor was lone woman in the supreme court. advocates were accustomed to their being a woman on the court, her name was sandra day o'connor. so they heard a woman's voice, it had to be justice o'connor. she would sometimes say, i am
justice o'connor, she is justice ginsburg. that happened not just occasional lawyers who showed up but even the solicited general mortified will be justice o'connor and realized the mistake he had made. >> he said he wished there was a trap door under his feet. [laughter] >> but nowadays one third of the bench. [cheering] we are all over the bench because of my seniority i sit next to the chief with justice ãon one side and justice kagan on the other.people who have attended arguments of the court know that my two sisters in
law, i'm not shrinking violet, they are very active in what goes on. for some years it was a rivalry between justice scalia and justice ãwho could ask the most questions. [laughter] ..... from the outside, what did you love about it so much. >> it was a very funny man. on the dc circuit. for some years before he was appointed to the supreme court. it was a prejudged day.
sometimes he would listen to me. i'm so funny and everything i could do to contain myself from bursting out into hysterical laughter. and the supreme court when they didn't sit next to each other but sometimes send me notes. [laughter]. listen buddy who had better lover. there is only at ginsberg that characterizes, the two of us. in different ways we approach reading legal text. in reference to the quote of the institution and for our constitution so it was just a small sampling of this very amazing think. and we seen an opening in a wage
and it goes like this. the justices lying how can they possibly espouse this because the constitutional absolutely nothing, about this. and then answered him. dear chest is clear, you are surfing for bright live solutions. the problems that don't have an easy answered. but the great think about our constitution is that our society, it can result. [laughter]. [applause]. >> justice scalia is locked up in the darkroom,. [laughter]. incarnate excessive dissent.
[laughter]. and i entered the darkroom with feelings. [laughter]. [applause]. i told him i was there to help me pass the test he must have. and why would you want to help him. he is your enemy. and i explained he has brought my enemy. he is my dear friend. and then we see wonderful duet. [laughter]. then goes like this. we are different and we are one. an impartial legal text, but one in a reference to the institution and for the united states constitution.
[applause]. [applause]. >> i know this seems like a very short time but we already exceeded it. and i think the justice and her brother first, and all of the people here who has waited so long to come. this is been a lovely morning and thank you justices. [applause]. [applause]. >> thank you so very much. thank you thank you. >> are some of the current best-selling nonfiction books. according to publishers weekly, elton john recalls his wife in
career and memoir, me. then in sam's houston in the alamo and adventures boxes ryan kill me, provides history of americans 19th century war with mexico over texas. in a warning, an anonymous author presumed to be a senior official in the trump administration, takes a critical look at the president. following that, donald trump jr argues that the left is using political correctness to silence conservatives in his book, triggered. in wrapping up our look at some of the books in publishers weekly nonfiction bestseller list, is talking to strangers. new yorker staff writer malcolm gladwell news examination and that we misread strangers words and actions. many of these authors have appeared on book to be. and you can watch them online affectivity .org. next on the tvs afterwards.