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Ginsburg Holds Court

Ruth Bader Ginsburg talks about her life, the law and her hope for law students

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September 16, 2009 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses the only tip she gave her new colleague, why she became a lawyer and her advice for Northwesern Law students. Produced by Matt Paolelli 

Listen to the full discussion with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

CHICAGO --- U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg answered a broad range of questions during a discussion with two Northwestern University School of Law professors, often delighting the audience of 700-plus in the school's auditorium.

Ginsburg visited the law school Sept. 14 and 15 as the Howard J. Trienens Visiting Judicial Scholar, spending two days providing students and faculty with perspectives on the judicial process and contemporary legal issues.

Among her answers during the discussion, she talked about the continuing importance of the Equal Protection Clause (enacted in 1868), a recent conversation with Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor about judicial fashion (met with loud laughter), the effect of the decision-making process on the court's ultimate opinions and the controversy over citing opinions of international courts in Supreme Court decisions.

Ginsburg became a lawyer, she said, during the McCarthy era to make life better for other people. She hoped that Northwestern Law students would use their skills for the same purpose.

Ginsburg participated in the discussion with faculty members Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the Federalist Society and the George C. Dix Professor of Law, and Professor Robert Burns, a specialist in advocacy, professionalism and criminal procedure.

She was nominated by President Bill Clinton as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1993 and took the oath of office Aug. 10, 1993.

In 1971, then-Professor Ginsburg of Rutgers University was instrumental in launching the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Throughout the 1970s she litigated a series of cases solidifying a constitutional principle against gender-based discrimination.


Topics: University, Campus Life