tv Justice Ginsburg with President Bill Clinton and Former Secretary of State... CSPAN November 5, 2019 10:04am-11:40am EST
samples of our history coverage featured every weekend on "american history tv." court justicese ruth bader ginsburg and sonia sotomayor reflect on the impact of the first woman supreme court justice, sandra day o'connor. on wednesday, african-american history. on thursday, past impeachment proceedings for andrew johnson, richard nixon and bill clinton. friday, the american revolution. >> held thetown law second annual ruth bader ginsburg lecture with featured speakers justice ginsburg, former president bill clinton, and former secretary of state hillary clinton. they reflected on justice ginsburg's nomination as well as her approach to the law. this is 90 minutes. [applause]
>> wow. i am the dean of georgetown law and it is a privilege to welcome you to the second annual ruth bader ginsburg lecture. the first lecture was held in april of 2018. our first speaker was justice ginsburg. it is a lecture series in which we honor a distinguished leader who is a champion for equality and human rights. we are very privileged at georgetown to have such a wonderful bond with the justice. you might have seen her portrait as you were coming down into the amphitheater. , waseloved husband, marty
a remarkable member of our faculty for many years. we have a chair in his honor. the martin ginsburg professorship in tax law. i have to say, i am often asked, dean, what is my favorite memory? it is what we just saw. walking into this room with justice ginsburg and seeing our students look up with such admiration and inspiration on somebody who is one of the great figures in the history of the world, and also a cultural icon. [laughter] [applause] >> when justice ginsburg gave the first lecture in april of 2018, it was fabulous and everybody was so energized. i said to her after, the one not so great thing about the lecture series is you gave the first lecture and the second lecture is going to be a disappointment.
[laughter] >> she said, i think i can handle that. so, good job, justice. [laughter] this is just such an amazing privilege. we are going to have an hour in which we are going to be hearing from justice ginsburg, a member of the georgetown school of foreign service class of 1968, president bill clinton. [applause] >> and secretary of state hillary rodham clinton. [applause] >> normally, when i introduce at an event, i talk about the biographies of the speakers. i think that is pretty unnecessary.
i'm going to turn matters over. leading the conversation are two members of our faculty, the authorized biographers of the justice, wendy williams and mary hartnett. they are going to be having the conversation. at the very end, i have questions from students. if i have your question, stand up so you can be recognized as i ask it. what an amazing hour we are about to have. a round of applause again for justice ginsburg. [applause] >> president clinton and secretary clinton. [applause] >> thank you, dean, and thank you all very much. the dean mentioned last year justice ginsburg was the inaugural speaker in this series. in her usual modest way, she asked me to not make tonight all about me. we are going to start with the
first question, with president clinton and secretary clinton. i understand, secretary clinton, that you gave a surprise gift to president clinton of rbg's book and you issued it with a challenge. could you both tell us about it? [laughter] yes.clinton: first, let me say how delighted i am to be here with all of you. particularly, at this law school that has such a great place, not but an our nations capital, in our country in the world, and to be here with justice ginsburg. there are many, many things about justice ginsburg that should inspire and motivate each and every one of us. we will, i hope, get to talk about some of those legal decisions that were
groundbreaking, some of the theories she was the first to really put forward, and so much more about her life as an academic and certainly as a judge on the court of appeals and then on the supreme court. there is one particular book she did not write that has had a ripple effect, and that is the book about the rbg workout. [laughter] i think it is fair to say a number of us who have seen that book would not want to be filmed trying to do that workout. [laughter] i bought about five copies and gave one to my husband. [laughter] i think it is also fair to say that he is very proud of having
nominated her, but he is going to let her do the workout. [laughter] pres. clinton: i was fascinated with the book. it is really worth reading, even if you are a marathon runner. it is worth seeing how, within a limited space, no matter how old you are, you can maximize your fitness. it is a really good book. i thought, hey. at the time i got it, i was a 71-year-old child. i said, this would be no problem. i work, i climb, i do weights. this would be no problem. it was a problem. [laughter] it was a real struggle. it also shows you the remarkable resilience of the body and the mind, even as it ages, but repetition and effort are required.
i think that is -- nobody talks about this very much with all of this who blog going on today with all of the politics -- with all of this hoopla going on today with all of the politics -- [laughter] but i'm telling you, repetition and effort have a way of imposing order on chaos, and it was very good. i am extremely grateful, even though i was reasonably embarrassed the first couple times i tried to do a workout. sec. clinton: me too. >> perhaps i should say -- justice ginsburg: perhaps i should say something about the workout. [laughter] i certainly did not write it, but i did write the introduction. my trainer has been with me since 1999. it was the year i had cancer and -- colorectal cancer.
after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, my dear spouse said, you look like a survivor of auschwitz. you must do something to build yourself up. i asked around. my trainer seemed just right for me. his day job is he works in the u.s. district court for the district of columbia. we meet to this very day, i met with him last night. the only one who has gone through the routine in part with me is steve colbert. [laughter] sec. clinton: but i think i remember, ruth that he was gasping for air. >> he was. >> president clinton, can you do the plank? you can? pres. clinton: she is really good at them. >> have you done the entire workout? sec. clinton: i have. without cameras.
[laughter] that's the only condition. >> we won't ask you to demonstrate tonight. we promise. we are going to talk in a minute about the nomination. before we do that, i wanted to ask justice ginsburg to describe briefly -- there was a meeting with both of you in arkansas a few years before that. i'm wondering if you could share that. justice ginsburg: i was speaking at the university of arkansas at little rock law school. i was talking about amending the constitution, and in the middle of my talk, the governor and the first lady of arkansas came into the hall and i was overwhelmed that they would do this. i immediately called, marty, my
dear spouse, and told him about this. that was my first meeting with the two of you. the next meeting was the secretary and my then three-year-old granddaughter. who was attending the bank street nursery school during the president's first campaign. you stopped there. my granddaughter stood right next to you. you were singing the toothbrush song. >> i have a picture. justice ginsburg: i had a picture framed. i wrote to clara, may you always know where to stand. >> to the nomination, you were very generous with your time and gave us an interview for your upcoming biography of justice ginsburg. we have more than a book written, but it's not yet complete because happily, our justice is still doing very important things.
flashback to 1993. you had just been in office barely two months when byron white announced he would retire at the end of the term. you made a decision that is why we are all sitting here tonight. can you tell us a little bit chose thennd why you judge ginsburg for your first nomination? pres. clinton: first of all, this was a big deal for me. now, we all see these court appointments as massive political dramas, but the human consequences of a supreme court appointment are enormous. i knew justice white. when i was attorney general, i had a case before the supreme court and i let a guy i went to kindergarten with me who worked
for me argued the case. he said, you went to yale. i went to arkansas. why are you not doing this? i said, because you worked a -- the case. i'm sitting there watching my guy argue the case. justice white writes me a note saying, your boy is doing a good job. [laughter] that man, he and his wife and both of their families still have that framed on his wall. it is a big deal who gets to be on the supreme court. i have always been abstractly interested because i like the supreme courts we had early in the 20th century, where you did not have to be a judge. you could be something else. he did not want the job. he did not want to leave new york. i had interviewed, i had
narrowed my choices down to three people. the other two people i interviewed, at least in the newspapers, everything leaked back then. [laughter] the reason i was interested before justice came to see me as -- justice ginsburg came to see me as a judge is as much before she became a judge as on the bench. in her work for women's rights, she had fought six cases in the supreme court and won five of them, including one or two which appeared to benefit the male partners of women even though it was a discrimination in the law based on assumptions about men and women and earning capacities and all of that. and so we had a meeting sunday night, i sneaked her in, and thank god nobody in the press felt like working sunday night. it never leaked.
we talked. after she had been there 10 minutes, i knew i was going to ask her to do the job. >> can you tell us more about that meeting? justice ginsberg, i would like to -- pres. clinton: i heard her talk about her judicial philosophy and what she had done. i let her know i had read about all these cases. we didn't talk much about that. i just wanted to get a feel for her. i have to say, we just had this event at my library in little rock, and the place where we normally have about 600 people, there were almost 15,000 people there. we had to move it to the basketball arena. there were 15,000 more who wanted to come. and couldn't get tickets because the fire marshal what it's let them in -- wouldn't let them in.
i think i was already worried about how abstractly fact free our political life and increasingly, some of our judicial life is becoming. -- was becoming. judges were seen by many people as an extension of politics and the only thing that mattered was the result. i really believe the essence of any democracy is whether we all live under the same set of roles and what they believe -- whether we believe if we should. everything else is basically a detail. it is amazing how progressive you get, to live under the same set of rules you are imposing on everyone else. i mostly asked her questions and let her talk. like everybody else, i was in awe because i thought she was smart and knowledgeable and very serious about being a judge and extremely respectful of her
extremely respectful of her colleagues on the then court of appeals. some of whom were pretty far out there on the right, too. some of whom were pretty far out there on the right, too. that could be an understatement. i thought, you know, this woman is completely on the level. i think the country deserves somebody who is on the level. who will talk about the facts, explain the law, explain the human consequences to the individual parties and to the larger polity of america. and do the best she can. i was convinced she would. i don't know how long we talked, an hour and a half i think. i knew after 10 minutes i was going to appoint her. >> thank you. justice ginsberg, your recollections of that meeting, i think you had flown from vermont that morning. tell us a little bit about -- justice ginsburg: yes.
the white house counsel said we will go right from the airport to the white house and i said, then i will be in my plane clothes. he said, that's all right. the president will just be coming in off the golf course. instead, you were coming in from church. you were in your sunday best and i was in my plane clothes. it was a little embarrassing. >> the meeting with the president, did you -- the president told me he really appreciated your sense of humor in sneaking into the white house. can you tell us about that from your perspective? justice ginsburg: i do have a sense of humor. it is essential in the job. [laughter] it was a wonderful meeting. the president had been -- i think you were an adjunct member
of the university of arkansas law faculty, not in little rock, in fayetteville. pres. clinton: taught constitutional law. justice ginsburg: that's right. >> we know what you decided on that sunday. judge ginsberg and marty did not learn about it right away. they had to wait until late that night. can you tell us a little bit about why? there was a basketball game. i will give you a hint. pres. clinton: well, it was an important game. [laughter] >> it was, i think, the nba finals and one of the longest games in history. it went triple over time. you were waiting until it was over because you wanted to fully savor this moment.
pres. clinton: i did. [laughter] >> justice, then judge, ginsberg was home with marty. i don't think you were watching basketball. [laughter] justice ginsburg: no. pres. clinton: there is one thing we did discuss. i feel that i should tell you. it will illustrate why i thought i should appoint her. abortion was a big issue in 1992. the right to choose. the reason was the court of appeals had decided the webster decision, the court of appeals st. louis, and generally, in a presidential election, the abortion issue helps decide the fear the most, so that the pro-life or anti-choice position is stronger when the pro-choice
people feel totally secure, then they can find some other reason to vote against you. the reverse is also true. in this election, i was one of the first democrats, pro-choice democrats to run since roe v. wade who benefited from roe v. wade because the webster decision frightened the other side. she knew this perfectly well. i was under a lot of pressure to make sure i appointed someone who was pure, which i had set i -- said i thought was important. eitheras fascinated on an article i had read or something i had read on justice ginsberg saying that she supported the result in roe v. wade, but thought it should have been decided under the equal protection clause, not the right to privacy. i asked her the question and she
talked about it just as if it was any other issue, no effect, this is what i think, this is why i think it, and she made a heck of a case. i said, you know, this is washington. everything leaks. everything is in the media. everything is turned into politics. for her, we were just two people alone and she was telling me what she honestly believed. and why. it made a huge impression on me. any president that only wants to appoint people that have sussed out in advance what they believe that president wants to hear is in deep trouble. you remember this if you ever get a job like this. [laughter] if everybody tells you what they think you want to hear or they don't want to discomfort you or raise any questions, you might as well run the place with an app. >> the lecture clinton is
talking about is called the madison lecture. all of you law students may want to read it. there are a lot of interesting things in partiality in judging. it happens to be in justice ginsburg's book, but it is also online. you can get it through lexus. it is a terrific piece. secretary clinton, what role, if any, did you play in the decision? sec. clinton: i like to think i played a convincing role. in order to get to the candidates for justice the president would actually interview, you had to go through dozens and dozens of names people were putting forth. from inside the white house and outside the white house. i had followed the work of justice ginsburg since i was
finishing law school and becoming a lawyer because a lot of the cases she argued were in the early 70's and i graduated from law school in 1973. i knew of her. who was onone else the faculty of columbia law school when she was. when i was the chair of the american bar association commission on women, going to columbia in the late probablyould have been 1987, 1988, 1989. i was very well aware of her work as a litigator, an academic, and then her work as a judge. i admired it and honestly. enormously.stly -- worko knew what pioneering
it was. i could not get a credit card in my own name. i was practicing law, my husband was the attorney general. he made i don't know, what, $26,000 a year? i made more than that. [laughter] [applause] i applied for a credit card in my own name and i was told, in no uncertain terms that i would not be accepted for a credit card. insults andttle disadvantages like that that now when you tell people, they think ages,ad to be the dark but it wasn't all that long ago. i knew of all the people who were part of the women's movement, she was one of the key players because of her creative
understanding of the law and her sense of justice, and her commitment to really pursuing fairness. as bill said, some of the cases were brought on behalf of men, on behalf of widowers or men who did not get a property tax exemption. view of very clear eyed trying to make the constitution work for everybody and i highly admired that. i may have expressed an opinion or two about the people he should bring to the top of the lease -- list and meet with and decide. >> thank you. no nomination about justice g's -- no talk about
nominationsburg's would be complete without talking about martin ginsburg. justice ginsburg: >> he was my -- he was my campaign manager. [laughter] >> i think one of your clerks put it best that ruth bader ginsburg should be appointed to under anye court scenario, but if it had not been for marty, who knows if it would have happened. do you or secretary clinton have any thoughts on that? sec. clinton: i don't know if any are here today, but there were a group of women activists i had worked with even before bill had become president where we worked on equal pay and a lot of things that we thought were important in any effort to try to move towards equality and justice.
so, they of course called me and called other people in the white house, and i recall one of them saying to me, i already talked to you once, but marty ginsburg told me i had to call you again. justice is right. marty was the field marshal summoning people and asking people to reach out to anyone they knew. it only made it sweeter because of his adoring support of the justice. >> we are about to switch gears. one final question for president and secretary clinton, now watchedng back, having justice ginsberg these last 26 years on the supreme court of the united states, have your expectations from that sunny day
in the rose garden in been met 1993 or what would you say? pres. clinton: no. [laughter] they have been wildly exceeded. read her opinion in bush versus gore, one of the worst decisions ever by the supreme court. she was dealing with people she wanted to respect. she concurred, and i think the most recent travesty opinion and the opinion written by her colleague who also started in my administration, justice kagan and the reapportionment case have anyou can unconstitutionally supreme court, but what can you do about it?
who are we? if you read the things and you should read some of the opinions where the court is unpredictably divided that she ruled on, but if you read any of her opinions, you will see exactly what i said in the interview. she is -- she says completely on the level, these are the facts that i understood -- as i understand them, these are the consequences, and i had come out nothing this is it and , these are the consequences. every time i read one of her opinions, i'm thrilled by it. i think, that was a good day. ginsburg: one thing i hope will please the president, i was age 60 when i was nominated and some people thought i was too old for the job.
--, i am entering my set 27th year on the court, so one of the longest tenured justices. if you worried about my age, it was unnecessary. [laughter] [applause] pres.pres. clinton: you should l know, you probably know this, but it is a serious issue because when president reagan was in office, the republicans were eager to remake the bench and make it as conservative as they could, and they because when president reagan sd sending all of these 30-year-old names to be on the bench. they had the white house 12 years. then i become president and every democratic senator has a friend, everyone of them was
over 60 because they hadn't been on in 10 years, they wanted to be on the bench and it was a brutal fight to make sure i at least had to make sure everyone was healthy. i'm really against age discrimination. i hate age discrimination and i hated it when i was attorney general. i hate age discrimination and i hated it when i was young and now that i am not, i can say that. i did worry about it and one of the most painful decisions i had to make was not putting judge richard -- judge arnold on the court with her -- judge richard oneld on the court with her
, of the great district court judges. thes told he was one of most billion judges. -- brilliant judges. he had cancer and i was not convinced that the risk was worth it. he was my friend. this was a guy that i played golf with. i said, i can't do it. sadly, he passed away a few years later, and i did not like being right for all the years i have been wrong. for purely personal reasons. i just had a feeling that she had whatever it was that would enable her to do things that no other living person had done. [laughter] and so, i did it. it is an issue and it is worth pointing out. if you ever get in a position to pick a judge, you are crazy not to think about it. you have to be prepared to set it aside if you think the argument is in favor of the appointment. the risk is minimal.
sec. clinton: two additional points, i do think when you are making decisions as momentous as picking judges, the federal -- to the federal bench, the person you consider should have relevant experience and should be judged qualified to hold the position. obviously, that wasn't a worry with justice ginsberg, but we we have recently seen -- we have recently seen people largely chosen on the basis of age and therefore longevity, and political ideology being pushed through despite having no relevant experience. i think before the last several years, people took seriously the
selection of judges, and even if they were trying to find somebody who would get to the result they wanted, they wanted to be able to say this was a distinguished lawyer, this was a judge with experience. so even with a straight face, even if you did not agree with that judge's interpretation of the constitution or philosophy, you felt that person is qualified. that was obviously never an issue with the people that bill picked, but it is an issue now and it is something that lawyers and academics should be saying a lot more about them i think is being said. the final point is about the expectations. i always knew that justice ginsburg would be a great supreme court justice. i did not know she would be a really popular cultural icon and so when bill was saying he
introduced her to be interviewed in arkansas, they had to move andhe basketball arena 15,000 people were there to see the notorious rbg being i could not that, have predicted. justice ginsburg: i will say two things, one about richard. he was one of the finest federal judges ever and it was great sadness that he did not live. one of the best events i ever participated in was at fayetteville. i judged a moot court with richard and buzz arnold. they are brothers. richard was a democrat and buzz was republican. they were such good companions.
pres. clinton: buzz arnold, i would have happily put my head on the chopping block with somebody with an accented to be ax to be made. we need to believe there is something on the level that there is plenty to disagree with, honestly. you can have honest arguments without bending all the rules and making every decision look like a train wreck. [laughter] >> here, here. >> secretary clinton, you and your daughter chelsea have just published a book. i happen to have it with me. called "the book of gutsy
ofen, favorite stories courage and resilience." what is with this gutsy? sec. clinton: this was a book that came out of a conversation i have had with chelsea ever since she was a little girl about inspirational people, and particularly looking for inspirational women who were courageous, who were resilient, who overcame obstacles. it just moved throughout our entire life together because we share stories when she was little. bill and i would talk to her about women who we thought of as being really significant in american history that might not necessarily be taught in school like harriet tubman, charlie people who we had had a great deal of interest in for
a long time. during the last several years, both because she has written a number of children's books, she and i have traveled around the country doing book signings are political events. very often, a little kid or a little girl will say, who are your heroes? it just seemed to us that there were already very well known women like justice ginsburg, people were telling her story, attentiontting the she so richly has earned, but there were a lot of women whose stories might not be well known, but could strike a chord in someone who was reading about their lives and maybe that person could be inspired and when we were talking about these women, we kept using the word gutsy. that was gutsy. we talk about a woman who is an
ob/gyn in somalia. during the conflict and famine in jihadist, also todd -- attacks, this woman opened up her family farm where she ended up sheltering 90,000 people, and she was providing health care and housing and planting gardens just to try to help mostly the women and children who were seeking refuge. al-shabaab shows up one day and says, basically you have teenage boys with automatic weapons saying, get out, we are going to take this over, and she is saying no. you think about that. eventually, she was able to basically stare them down. she had no military defense. she had to do it herself. you hear these stories, and there are so many of them in this book. we could have written a book 10 times longer. you think, that was so gutsy. how did she find that deep sense
of courage to stand up and say no, these people are under my protection. the stories in the book are about women who overcame obstacles, who endured some of the worst things one can imagine in their lives, being tortured, raped, left on the side of the road, being beaten and left on the side of the road for wanting to plant trees like one woman did in east africa and on -- encourage the opposition of powerful men who for some reason didn't want her speaking out. you go through this litany of all these courageous women and it could have been many more. we wanted to bring these stories to attention. we included a few people who are well known, but we didn't include people like justice ginsberg or nancy pelosi or opera or michelle obama because
they are in the news. people know about them and they can see them in real time, but they might not know how hard it was for some of these other women to keep pursuing their own dreams. >> so you whittle it down to 105? sec. clinton: 103. the women judge we do include is constance baker motley, the first african-american federal judge appointed by linda johnson -- lyndon johnson. she also went into federal politics. i admired her from the first time i ever heard about her and i thought that she was somebody who deserved more attention. navy she is not as well-known today as she was in the past, although the courthouse in new york city is named for her, so people who go in and out may stop and look at the engraving and saying, i wonder who constance baker motley was. i think we are in need today
about stories of people who stand up. , the firstase smith person in her party to stand up and take on joseph mccarthy. a goodthink would be example for people in her party today, if maybe they will read that essay. or barbara jordan whose speech , about impeachment, if you go to youtube and watch it in the most, is one of powerful defenses of the constitution. obviously, a plot of the people we chose, we thought their stories were relevant for what we face today. and their optimism that they had to keep going, they had to make a difference is something we could all make a big dose of. justice ginsburg: constance baker motley was well-known to me because she was rope president of manhattan. that, she was on
thurgood marshall's team and argued many of the important desegregation cases. when she was federal judge, she had a title vii case involving i think it was the suit against a dozen or so top law firms in new york. there was a motion by the defendants to recuse her because this is a sex discrimination case, she was a woman, so how could she be impartial? she wrote an amusing response to that. [laughter] >> do you remember back in 1995, beijing in china? sec. clinton: yes, i do. i remember that. the united nations fourth world conference on women.
>> you spoke there. i guess you spoke to delegates from something like 130 or 140 countries. right off tiananmen square. was that the location? sec. clinton: yeah. in that speech, did something magnificent, i think. i wanted to ask you about it. you called out practices around the world, including our own country, that harmed women and you ended with something i want to quote. it is a powerful and inspiring ending. you said, if there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights. once and for all.
yeah. [laughter] [applause] sec. clinton: this was, as you said, the fourth conference and china was hosting it. there was a lot of controversy about whether i would go. members of congress spoke out, said i should not go. people inside the white house and the state department said i should not go. we were sending a delegation, but i had been invited by the u.n. to speak and nobody else in our delegation had been extended that invitation. wewe had a wonderful, high-power group of people going, but the
united states would not have a prominent speaking role if i did not go. i thought it was important for the united states to be on the side of speaking up and speaking out for women's rights. to the one person and administration who never told me not to go, luckily was the president. somethingok, this is that i feel strongly about, personally, but it is also something that we need to be on the right side of. , and i learnedg later that as i was speaking and cultural,t practices, historical, political, social practices of all kind that infringed on women's participation in society. when i got to china and was talking about the one child policy and forced abortion and forced sterilization, the chinese cut off the loudspeakers so that you could still hear me in the hall, but they have been broadcasting all of the speeches out into this giant convention
center and they cut it off. i did not learn that until later in the other thing they had done because activists like you were pouring into beijing and they said all of the activists -- send all of the activists to a place with very primitive conditions. that is where they wanted to essentially isolate people who are not members of the official delegations. so i said i would go out there. it was pouring rain, miserable weather. people were standing up to their calves in mud. the chinese security was really on edge. they were pushing people around. some of you know who donna shalala is. she is not the tallest person. they're pushing her around, but she gives better than she gets, so she kept forging ahead. i spoke there. the speech and the platform for action that we adopted really
became the foundation for changing a lot of laws and taking many other practices from that point forward. fast forward all these many, many years later, i get a note, i get an email from someone i know who is in beijing and he is in a big department store shopping or something. it was while i was secretary of state. he sends me and email i'm , standing here in the aisle of this department store and usually over the loudspeakers they play music, but they are broadcasting your speech. i thought, at her late than never. -- better late than never. [laughter] >> wonderful story. pres. clinton: can i just say one thing? i thought everyone who did not want her to go was missing out. i can understand why they did not want to make the chinese mad. i was trying to have a constructive relationship with china, i thought it was
important then, i think it is important now. but you can't have an honest relation ship -- relationship with someone if you have to walk around on your tippy toes, so i never thought twice about sending her. i thought it was crazy. i wanted to engage africa in ways that no previous administration had. they needed our help economically with dealing with health care issues. we could not do that if we were unwilling to take a position on female genital mutilation, which was still really widespread. the time i went to africa hillary had already went to these women's groups and hearty men's supporters -- men's supporters who were trying to end female genital mutilation. if she had not done that,
the next five years would have been dramatically undermined. >> you know, they never reported in the beijing newspaper that she was in town. sec. clinton: that was my first experience, first time i had ever gone to china. i'm a great admirer of the culture and the history. i give the chinese people and enormous amount of credit for lifting hundreds of millions of their citizens out of abject poverty, etc.. but it was my first time really understanding how they try to control the information that their citizens are able to access. i had a very constructive, respectful relationship when i was secretary of state, and i am concerned that china is investing in the technology for the most pervasive surveillance
state that is imaginable, using facial recognition, using a system to reward or punish people based on what the cameras show they are doing or failing to do. the chinese people have come so far and have such an amazing opportunity to break out of where they are now and build a really constructive, cohesive entrepreneurial society that will eventually move towards greater personal freedom, and yet, that is really being challenged by what we see happening inside the government of china. step a kind of one forward, have stepped back, good news, bad news kind of story.
i personally believe strongly as bill said, we need constructive -- need a constructive, positive relationship and that means being both respectful and firm. it does not mean hurling insults via twitter and making all -- wild claims. it doesn't mean bluffing, it does not mean any of that. it means establishing a constructive relationship with a very important and fast-moving, growing, powerful country. i am worried that there is a lot of setbacks. i stayed in touch with a lot of chinese women that i met when i was there. i went back to visit when the land i had a state visit to china a few years later. senator, i went back as secretary of state. i am worried that the openings that have made a lot of what is possible in china are beginning to shrink.
i think that would be a great loss for the chinese people. >> on that cheerful note -- sec. clinton: we can stay a little bit longer. >> i'm not done with you yet. we have law students here in places you cannot even see from this, andning into the three of you have had lifelong experiences using your law degrees in interesting and important ways, including in the effort to bring human rights to the world. i wonder if you could in one sentence, maybe one and a half sentences, each of you say what you would advise our law students about the future? [laughter]
iss. clinton: the question whether we are going to live in terms of positive interdependence or negative interdependence where we negotiate every last thing in a zero-sum environment. where in order for us to feel like we have one, we have to say who lost. -- won, we have to say who lost. i don't think it is complicated. i could fill this auditorium with studies that show diverse groups with the ability to think and speak and act freely make better decisions than homogenous groups of lone geniuses. in the long run, authoritarianism doesn't work very much. the thing you could do that would make that most credible to people living in other countries is to make our own democracy
work better because, i will just give george w. bush -- and then he allowed -- >> explain what that is. >> it is a program that funds $3 billion a year american efforts to combat aids, tuberculosis and other problems around the world. he agreed to work with me against the advisors who wanted to defend big pharma and let the countries he worked in by drugs that we have negotiated to dramatically lower prices for. so all the sudden they could save four or times as many five lives. we got a good wrap for what we did there. but, we are not doing much in africa. it is not clear we will clear
-- we will reenact the act i've passed in 2000 which created hundreds of thousands of jobs in africa and didn't hurt the american economy at all. enforcedse have an savings rate. they just built a modern railroad all across eastern africa and the africans wanted it and negotiated it. they used to be really bad in working foreign countries. they had a terrible reputation for mining in peru. terrible working conditions for the peruvians. they are getting a lot better. in other words, they say better to operate from a position of control and move to core -- two cooperation than start with your kind of democracy which is subject to all sorts of paralysis and where now nobody even trusts your word anymore.
and try to get everybody to adopt your system and then figure out something good to do. it looks like a serious debate today. a meaningful debate. i think there are a lot of human rights issues to fight for. a woman stopped me in new york last night, a beautiful african woman in her early 40's to tell me -- she introduced me to her 13-year-old son and 11-year-old son. she said i have a 13-year-old an 18-year-old. i was abducted by joseph kony's army. by the grace of god more than , half of us got away the united -- got away thanks in no small measure to the moral force of the united states pushing and pushing. i never got the chance to thank you personally.
and her father was one of the only who had gotten a gold-medal in the olympics from her country. our ability to do that rests largely on people thinking that we are for real. so we need to make our country work more like justice ginsburg's decisions. just on the level, no one has to win on the time -- when all the time or be right all the time but we have to get back to on the level. [applause] >> i think it is helpful to recall the way it was when i was nominated, 1993 and there was a true bipartisan spirit in that congress. my white house handlers were worried about my aclu connection
and members of the white house staff would act as various senators and would ask questions like you were on the board of the aclu in 1975. they passed that resolution, how did you vote? i said stop because there's , nothing you can say that will to do anything but praise the work of the american civil liberties union. , there was ag single question of any senator about the years i had been general counsel or on the board of the american civil liberties union, my big supporter on the judiciary committee was orrin hatch. >> there were a few others. [laughter] >> that is the way it should be.
the vote was 96-3 and even the three, jesse helms was one of the three, he did not hold me up because you nominated me on june 14. any senator could have put a hold on me and the hearing would have carried over to the fall, but jesse announced he was going to vote against me, but would not hold me up. our senate was working the way it should and i hope that it works against my lifetime. -- work again in my lifetime. [applause] >> i think you are in law school at an extraordinarily important time in our country because many of the issues that are being
fought out in the courts and politics are going to need voices that will stand up for the kind of decision-making that justice ginsburg was talking about when she was nominated and confirmed in the senate. i am worried that there is a sense that this is the way it always has been and it hasn't. , there is a cynicism about the way decisions are made in books, -- made. human nature being the way it is, that is always a factor, but there's always a much stronger push to try to as bill said, be on the level. to live in a world where people were coming together, not splitting apart. where divisiveness and meanness
were called out, not emulated, so those of you here at this excellent law school will have a role to play, whether you -- whatever you decide to do with your law degree, whether you practice law in whatever setting or get into politics or business or whatever you eventually decide to do, but you are now a well-trained citizen which may be the most important role that any of us call to play -- is called to play right now, someone who regardless of oritical affiliation philosophical bent on the political spectrum understands we have to support our institutions, support the rule of law, have to continue to strive towards a more perfect union and everyone has a role to play and amending that. -- in demanding that.
it is an exciting time, but also inte a sobering time to be law school and trying to figure out how you can make your contribution in whatever area you choose. i am fundamentally optimistic, but i do think it does not happen because we wish for it, it happens because people understand the stakes of who goes on the federal bench, understand the stakes of who gets elected to make decisions and try to hold people accountable for what they believe in in terms of the kind of country we want were people public, and make those but at the end of the day as we saw so often with justice ginsburg, you keep trying to get
to the right decision based on the law and the facts and the constitution and the consequences for human beings. i think those are good signposts for us to follow. [applause] >> one thing i hope you learn is how to listen. listen to people whose views are different from your own. justice john paul stevens was a big proponent of learning on the job, learning by listening. my favorite example of one who learned on the job was my old chief. chief justice rehnquist. i could count --
what was the one day when the family medical leave act was upheld against the challenge? >> my brain is empty. wrote the opinion upholding the family medical leave act. when i brought the opinion home , he asked did you write this postmark i think my old chief listened and he learned on the job and perhaps he was twouenced by his granddaughters he had a very close relationship with. >> ok well the dean is going to come back and he is going to -- pardon? >> you testified? >> i did. [laughter] >> i have a few questions from our students, but before we do that, a round of applause. [applause]
when i read your question, i would like you to stand up. the question is, "what advice would you give those of us who want to be in politics considering how toxic the environment is today?" >> get involved and make it less toxic. [applause] >> i think you have to go in very clear eyed about what the current environment in our political system is and how you will be a target and all kinds of accusations and falsehoods will be leveled against you and
online media makes it pervasive. so you do have to understand that you put yourself into the public arena in today's world. the costs are ones you have to be willing to bear in the same -- and yet at the same time i , think it is important for more people to get involved to run for office, support those who run for office, to work for those who run for office because , we need good and particularly young diverse people to be part of our politics. it is more important now than it probably has been in quite some time. >> i would advise you to get the supplement that was in the new york times a few weeks ago and a -- about the meeting organized in texas that brought together more than 500 americans of all
races, genders, sexual identity , political philosophies, and organized them in six workshops. -- six workshops. they were stunned at how interested people were and how they came around. -- in each other and how they came around. how some of the most conservative members of the groups wound up supporting a public option in health care because they realize there wasn't an affordable option for good, decent working people. ideologicallytold about the law was simply not true and once they talk to these people. they had a lot of people on the -- who thought they were on the left who understood there were practical problems with throwing
people who work in health insurance overnight out and building a system while people are still hitting sick every day and they need health care. i would go to the people, the interest groups and and information eco-structure are aggravating the polarization of america. more personal contact can be used to re-create the conditions of the supreme court chamber when they are out in the back rooms talking about these cases. we are much less polarized in our politics because we don't vote our common sense often because we are messed up. our brains get rewired when we hear all this garbage flooding all over. and it's not just social media.
we are very lucky in washington to other billionaire on the washington post to afford to be an old-fashioned newspaper. almost nobody else can. you have to sell online ads and the number and price of your online ads depends on how many clicks there are on your stories and that will determine whether your story gets on the evening news. the whole thing is geared towards turning three-dimensional people and three-dimensional problems into 2-d cartoons. that's what you have to be. in 2018, we had interesting candidates and pretty fair coverage, the people were inherently interesting -- interesting and we got good results. the democrats lost a lot of close races. as well as winning a lot. it much more reflect where the american people are on most issues and that's my advice to you, go to the people and don't
let anybody get in the way. them when they start to get mad and scared anybody , who tries to make you mad does not want you to think, therefore they are not your friend. if you want to run for office, make people believe you are in it for them. and you won't let anything take the election away from them. that is my advice. [applause] >> next question from victoria brown. she asks, "what is your greatest legal or legislative victory?" the legal victory, case either , on the court or as an advocate that you are most proud of?
>> i'm not sure i grasp the question. >> is there a case that you wrote or a case that you as a judge or justice that is the most significant for you? >> it is like asking which of my grandchildren and great grandchildren is dearest to me. [laughter] >> i won't ask that. [laughter] >> there are any number of cases that stand out, one of course is the virginia military institute case which the court decided with only one dissent. my buddy justice scalia dissented.
it was the anniversary of the decision. how proud the school is of their women cadets. they go through the same line as the men. they would not want to change that, they would not want to change the spartan living quarters. they just wanted to have the opportunity that the state was making available only to men and not women. one significant thing about the case the title is united states , against virginia. it was the united states of america, our federal government telling a state you cannot make , an opportunity available to one sex only. lily ledbetter is another case. she was an area manager at a goodyear tire plant. she got her job in the 1970's, only women doing it.
one day, she finds a slip of paper in her mailbox with a series of numbers which she recognizes right away is the pay of the other area managers and -- are receiving and she sees she is at the very bottom earning less than the one she trained to do the job, so she said i've had it she brought a , title vii lawsuit, got a nice jury verdict, gets to the supreme court and the court said you sued too late. the law says you have to complain to the eeoc within 180 days of the discriminatory incident and you were discriminated against years and years ago. you are way out of time. the point of my dissent was suppose she sued early on, she did not know what the pay was
, but suppose she did. the defense would have been it has nothing to do with her being a woman, she just does not do the job as well as men. 12 years later, they have given her good performance ratings so that defense is no longer available to them. she has a credible case. another thing about not suing is the first woman doing the job does not want to be seen as a troublemaker. she does not want to rock the boat. but the theory of the dissent was the soul of the complicity. it is every paycheck this woman receives reflects the discrimination so the 180 day clock should run from her most recent paycheck.
i ended my dissent with the line " the ball is now in congress' court to correct the error and -- into which my colleagues have fallen." and then there was a groundswell for passage of the lilly ledbetter fair pay act. sides of the aisle, overwhelming support. and it was the first piece of obamaation that president signed when he took office, so congress listened and they confirmed what i thought they meant. >> i remember that so well. >> secretary clinton? >> i think probably the two
things that mean the most to me is work that i did on the second term of bill's administration to help put together and pass the children's health insurance program. we have not been successful in obtaining universal health care coverage and i was trying to figure out what we could do to try to help some people, and particularly kids who we had documented were often uninsured because their families did not get employer-based health care. they could not afford it. otherwise, they were making too much money through medicaid and -- for medicaid and if they had pre-existing conditions, even the employer insurance would not cover them. there were millions of children who did not have access
to affordable health care and i worked with ted kennedy and orrin hatch to pass the state children's health insurance program. it's one of the five pillars of our health insurance system. you have employer-based health care, medicare, medicaid, the va, and the chip program. about 10 million kids per year are covered by that and certainly i meet them all over the country who come up and say if it hadn't been for the chip program, i wouldn't have health care. that to me is incredibly important and it is especially timely because the latest numbers show that several hundred thousand kids have lost coverage in the last year and so we have to figure out how we will get them back into the system without much support from the administration. the second thing was the work that i did after 9/11 as a senator from new york and it was
just the most overwhelming responsibility to represent new york at that time and initially, the bush administration, the night after 9/11 had sent a request to congress for $20 billion, but not a penny for new york. it made absolutely no sense and i was in the senate at 6:00 in the morning on september 13 to make the case that obviously new york had been devastated along with not only buildings destroyed, but thousands of lives lost and businesses decimated. working on that and getting that through the congress, working on
the victim compensation fund, working on the first responders health needs, that was the most meaningful work that i did during my eight years in the senate. >> first of all, to state the obvious, a lot of things that a president does do not require legislation, so a lot of things are important to me. ireland the balkans, the middle , east, the mexican economy, putting gps into the public domain. five minute decision. believe it or not, there were people against that. you can't imagine it can you? they did not require legislation . then the most popular bill i ever signed was the family medical leave law. people still come up and talk to
me about their experience which is why we should have paid leave like a handful of other countries have. the assault weapons ban and the ammunition click limit and the violence against women act, those things were important to me. far hadthing that by the effect on the largest number of people is not widely understood because it did not fit the political narrative of the republicans or the political press at the time. that was reversing trickle-down economics. by the passage of my economics plan in 1993. you want to read the quotes of my opponents. it passed by one vote in both houses. they said this is the end of the american economy, if we don't have trickle-down economics, the world will come to an end. it is the only time in the last
50 years, that we had shared prosperity across all economic groups. it was also the most robust growth. the second was under president reagan. that was the first time we had ever been on a sugar high. andimes of normal demand interest rates, we never run massive deficits at peacetime and sadly the money was not used to invest, it was given to people on a highly skewed income basis, but he did have pretty robust growth, but if you look at the charts overlaid he beat , me in one category. measured by quintiles. top 20% income went up. after inflation. 22% under reagan, 20% under me. all of that i believe is in the top 1% and the rest of the top
20% under -- better under me. the next 20%, 25% better when i was there. the middle 25%, 50% better. from 20% to 40%, twice is good. lowest 20%, 23 times as good. percent to7/10 of a 23.7% increase in income. law we wouldn't have the ability to do some of the executive things, a lot of other things that flooded money into working people and families that never had a chance before. it had by far the most important impact and would've had more impact if the american people
had all known it. but for reasons that were a mystery to me, it was not talked -- thought to be newsworthy. havee say presidents don't impact on economic growth, but they have a lot of say on where it is spread. that's the thing i did that affected most people. and i would like to see us get back to that. i agree with the new york times economists the deficits don't matter much now because there is such a slack in demand. for example, we have 4% unemployment and the current administration brags but having 3.5. that's 3.5 with under 63% of the workforce working.
we had 4% with 67% of the workforce working. and so there was all this shared prosperity and it really matters , people of a certain age come up to me and say we were all getting along when you were there. not entirely true. , a lot ofrch burnings the beginnings of a lot of anti-muslim activity. but we had -- but it was controlled. we fought it and beat it every time instance by instance. you made it possible was if reverse trickle-down economics and go from the bottom up in the middle out, you get a better result. and we can all figure out how to do the rest. i'm proud we got 10 million more .eople on college aid
important asas as ending this insane notion that all we have to do is keep throwing it up to the 1% and noble be well. it is simply not true. [applause] >> one final question, i just one is after the question, we will have a reception of the sport and fitness lounge. now the question on everybody's bardi,or madeleine you've all been in d.c. for quite some time now, are you rooting for the nationals? [laughter] >> i guess i should go first.
[laughter] >> i'm the only one not running least -- butor at i can't legally run for president again. being att mind supervisory or something. to justice ginsburg has continue her veneer of impartiality i suppose. [laughter] >> i've loved baseball since i was a little boy, we were 10 when i got my first television and i used to sit on the ground on the floor and just watch these baseball games. i once knew the name of every player on brooklyn dodgers roster. i love the new york giants when they were there, on the great thrills of my becoming president and i got to be friends with willie mays which i thought was the coolest thing. these are the two most complete teams we had a long time. houston is a magnificent team,
don't kid yourself. they are a magnificent team, but i want the nationals to win because we haven't won in so long. [applause] they will have to do only world- it's the series in history were all six games have been won by the away team. it's never happened in any other sport ever, so if the nationals win tonight it will be something that probably will never happen again as long as there is baseball. where all seven games will be determined by the away team and yes i want them to win, but if you're a baseball fan, you have to really admire them both. teams, they're not just a bunch of stars making a ton of money. --y are teams
[applause] else?one justice ginsburg? i think the tribute to teamwork is a great way to end and the tribute to the difference that individuals can make which is really that's what this lecture series is about, that's with the career is about, secretary clinton, president clinton, a round of applause. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
>> at c-span.org we are making it easier for you to watch coverage of the impeachment inquiry in the administration's response. go to our impeachment inquiry page at c-span.org/impeachment for video on demand and we have added a tally from the associated press showing where each house democrats dance on the impeachment inquiry against president trump. follow the impeachment inquiry on our webpage at c-span.org/impeachment for your fast and easy way to watch c-span's unfiltered coverage anytime. up next, we will bring you last night's campaign rally with president trump in lexington, kentucky and then former dnc chair donna brazile and former trumka munication strategist
talk about civility and political discourse. afternoon, live testimony from fbi director christopher wray on threats facing the u.s. he will speak before the senate homeland security committee and a reminder, you can watch all of our coverage online at c-span.org and listen with the c-span radio app. c-span campaign 2020 bus team is traveling across the country visiting key battleground states in the 2020 presidential race, asking voters what issues they want presidential candidates to address during the campaigns >> -- campaign. >> i don't think there is just one clear-cut answer, i believe we need to initiate that discussion and discover what options are available to prevent these disasters from happening. >> my question that i have is how are you going to combat the rising prices and drugs and health care?
>> an issue important to me is focusing on fixing our criminal justice system, how can we rehabilitate our offenders, how can we support a positive relationship between the community and law enforcement, how can we fix our mass incarceration rates, how can we help those who are impacted by the heroin epidemic, how can we focus on helping those in pipeline,he prison focus on helping our juveniles who are involved in delinquency. >> an issue important to me is a woman's autonomy. >> voices from the campaign trail, part of c-span's battleground states to her. .- states tour >> president trump alec campaign