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Sole female justice speaks

I’m not particularly shocked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s statements in a USA Today story today about how her own colleagues sometimes don’t pay her the respect she deserves, but I am disappointed.

USA Today Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic writes:

Ginsburg, 76, a former women’s rights advocate whom President Clinton named to the high court in 1993, recalled that as a young, female lawyer her voice often was ignored by male peers. “I don’t know how many meetings I attended in the ’60s and the ’70s, where I would say something, and I thought it was a pretty good idea. … Then somebody else would say exactly what I said. Then people would become alert to it, respond to it.”

Even after 16 years as a justice, she said, that still sometimes occurs. “It can happen even in the conferences in the court. When I will say something — and I don’t think I’m a confused speaker — and it isn’t until somebody else says it that everyone will focus on the point.”


In the interviews for the story, conducted before Ginsburg’s colleague David Souter announced his retirement, Ginsburg also says:

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. I don’t say (the split) should be 50-50. It could be 60% men, 40% women, or the other way around. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

So here’s my question: most court-watchers seem to be convinced that the president will nominate a woman to replace Souter. And if Ginsburg leaves the court during Obama’s presidency (the 76-year-old justice has pancreatic cancer but wants to continue to serve), I’d guess Obama would nominate another woman to fill her seat. (Otherwise, we’d be right back at 1 of 9.) But what if Obama gets the chance to nominate a replacement for one of the sitting male justices? We’ve already had 2 of 9 when Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor were both on the court. Shall we go for 3 of 9?

What are the odds?

HT: How Appealing

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  1. Justices Ginsberg and O’Connor are both women who were and are trailblazers of yet another generation of women attempting to meaningfully contribute to our culture and gainfully attempt to earn wages that are equivalent to men. While much progress has been made in this arena, I would call attention to the fact that there is no social mechanism in our culture that really addresses full partnership in this effort. As a society in the past 30 – 45 years, women have been used as the last cheap labor source disrupting family life and training of youth while providing no mechanisms for men to equally participate in replacing the highly undervalued services that women did provide – i.e. someone must skillfully manage the basic household and consider that that household has a balance sheet. The much needed volunteer services benefiting a community have continued in a downward slope as two and three incomes are needed just to sustain a household. Certainly those services receive little monetary recognition in divorce court. Seldom (if ever) will anyone hear legal arguments justifying support for those services. As a woman facing these challenges for the past decade and a half, not one employer has cared whether the child was ill or had needs. The social costs are entire generations of children today who can speak volumes about what they observed their mothers doing in terms of having multiple careers – professionally outside the house and being their own CEO’s inside the house. Look at any high school (public or private) – no matter what economic neighborhood today – and see the use of drugs, early involvement in sex and alcohol. Every gender (including the women who have attained position, political power and ability to create change) is guilty of allowing the 3 – 5% of the real moneyholders in this elitist culture to blind and use them without regard for the social consequences that cost everyone very real dollars. Having manipulated women and teens with underpaid work and easy credit debt, these same movers and shakers have achieved outsourcing real jobs in foreign sectors. I am really waiting for men to wake up, smell the coffee and realize that without parity they are ignoring winning ideas, willing assistance and a new concept of success to regain the power they think they have – i.e. it makes little sense to continually create dept for our communities with additional expense in terms of social rehab for our youth and any disenfranchised workers. This might mean legislatively and culturally a transformation that means everyone regardless of gender has a need to actively participate at home and in the community. Deepest apologies for those many men who have made this transformation and condolances for the federal, state and private entities that have not been willing (even with legislation) to create an environment where all parties can equally participate. Maybe millions of dollars would not have to be spent on invitro fertilization for women who have had to wait too long, or childcare because it is equal to a woman’s wage, or drug and alcohol counseling and centers because not enough adults are available to care, or time for all genders to work together to solve community problems, or jails to house that national failure because of our inability to change and adjust to the needs of today’s highly interconnected world. I am really waiting, waiting ….. for both genders to stop and consider the whole picture.

  2. I’m not surprised by Justice G’s comments.

    To the other poster: paragraphs are your friend. Use them and maybe someone would read your post.

  3. If there is Justice on the Court I agree with, it is Ginsburg. In fact, she is the only one I like. That said, they could also be ignoring her because they don’t agree with her.