Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A Valedictorian of Life

Being from the political left, I have always admired people who would defend the political agenda of the liberals.  Even though defending people who address racism, sexism, homophobia, healthcare reform, income equality, and poverty would be something at which everyone should be engaged.  It is truly sad that only liberals work for a resolution of those causes; the conservative's modus operandi is to maintain the status quo.  That means either they are oblivious to or supportive of racism, sexist, etc.   

However, while on the Internet, I came across an article about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court.  Interestingly, she began her law degree at Harvard in 1956.  Interestingly, that was the first class to allow women, and she was one of only one of the nine women of 500 students.  At the beginning of her first year at Harvard, Dean Erwin Griswold invited the nine women of the class to his home for dinner.  While there, Griswold asked each of the women why they were there since their presence at the Harvard Law School kept nine male students from entering the university.     

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg attended Harvard while caring for her toddler.  Her husband was a student also at Harvard but developed testicular cancer while getting a law degree.  She attended his classes where she took notes for him due to his medical problems.  In spite of his medical problems, he graduated from Harvard, and they moved to New York where he became an attorney.  Justice Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School where she graduated and tied with another student for class valedictorian.  While at Harvard, she was also at the top of her class. 

After graduating, Ginsburg applied to 14-different law firms and was denied employment at each one.  Apparently, none of the law firms needed an intelligent legal mind, or it was blatant sexism.  As a result, Ginsburg became a law professor at Rutgers Law School where she dealt with issues surrounding women's rights.  A decade later, she got a job as a professor at Columbia.

Ginsburg's first case brought before the Supreme Court was Frontiero vs. Richardson in 1973.  This is a recording of her thoughts about her appearance before the court and a short part of her defense.

Listen to Ginburg's defense.

Interestingly, Ginsburg won that and four more cases that she defended before the high court.  President Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980.  In 1993, President Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court. 

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The Supreme Court

In an interview with Katie Couric, Ginsburg observed that the male justices have a blind spot relative to women's issues and sexism.  While I hold Justice Ginsburg in high respect, the term, blind spot, for me would be a politically correct term for what I would call sexism. 

There are some similarities between Justice Ginsburg and me aside from being liberals.  While I do not have a law degree, we are close to the same age.  Justice Ginsburg and I both love to travel.  We both have a daily cardiovascular workout routine.  I don't know the details of hers, but I do daily 45-minutes on a bike or in a kayak and do 600-crunches.  We have both danced with death and are both cancer survivors. 

I do not believe that Justice Ginsburg every fell off a ladder causing a subdural hematoma, which is merely a fancy why to label a traumatic brain injury.  The other dissimilarity is that I am not like her dean at Harvard.

Finally, it is apparent that neither Ginsburg or I will retire.  She loves the court, and I love college teaching.  Many of my students are women.  During the semester, I often wonder as my students begin their collegial educational journey what they will do in life.  I hope that they all are as driven as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  In the meantime, Justice Ginsburg, I admire your example of a liberal and a woman.