Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Goodman on The Transformation of Justice Ginsburg

Ellen Goodman had a column this week in the Boston Globe on "The Transformation of Justice Ginsburg." Hat tip. Goodman writes:
NOW, in the season of her discontent, it is well to remember that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was always called a moderate. The word dangled from her wrist like an ID bracelet. In fact, when she was nominated to be the second woman on the Supreme Court, there were feminists who added another adjective to that word: too moderate.
I always thought that was a bad rap. Ginsburg went to law school when textbooks still read: "Land, like woman, was meant to be possessed." Her dean asked the nine women in her class of 500 why they were taking a man's seat. She was accepted for a clerkship only after the judge found an understudy in case she couldn't hack it. It's not surprising that Ginsburg often refers to herself as a "way-paver."
At the same time, the legal strategy that she devised in the 1970s to upend the idea that men and women live in different legal spheres was a careful, incremental bit of roadwork. Her plaintiffs in a series of successful sex discrimination suits were often men -- such as a widowed father ineligible for Social Security -- chosen to appeal to male judges.
After her confirmation by a margin of 97-3, Ginsburg was still called "a partisan of judicial restraint."...But this year we are witnessing -- what shall we call it? -- the radicalization of Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
For the rest, click here.

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