A growing collection of flowers, posters, hand-written notes and low-burning candles have accumulated on the steps of the Harvard Law School library, a makeshift memorial assembled by Harvard students and admirers of the late alumnus and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87. Leaning in to read the notes, second-year Harvard Law student Jin Lee ‘22 took stock of the vigil Sunday, after two days of reflecting on Ginsburg’s legacy. “I’m just really grateful for what she has done for women in this country and for women at this school,” Lee said. “She has definitely influenced my decision to become a lawyer. She has shown me that as long as you keep pushing on the limits, they will expand. And that’s what I hope to do.” Ginsburg enrolled at the law school in 1956, entering into a class of 552 men and only eight other women. The dean at the time famously asked the nine women, at a dinner party, why they deserved to take a place at the university that could be taken by a man. A plaque in Harvard’s Austin Hall now commemorates another discrimination those women faced: the building contained the only women’s restroom on campus, which meant female students had to run across campus to do their business and run back to make it in time for class… Notes at the memorial nodded to Ginsburg’s trailblazing legacy and the difficulties she faced leading up to her appointment as the second woman on the bench of the nation’s highest court. “Thank you for inspiring generations of women,” one note reads, scrawled on a post-it. “Lawyers and all else. We lost a hero today.”
… Ginsburg’s life and work have continued to inspire generations behind her, including many students who walk in her footsteps at Harvard Law School. Maura Smyles, “My year was I believe the second year in HLS history to have more women than men in our class, so in that sense she’s a trailblazer.” … Current students created this memorial outside of Harvard Law School Library. Catherine Walker-Jacks said, “I just wanted to create a place for people to mourn her and to share the impact that she’s had on our lives.”
The time Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent at Harvard Law School during the 1950s presented challenges in and out of the classroom. …On Saturday, mourners gathered at the site where the young Ginsburg endured those pivotal trials and grieved the jurist, who persevered her way to the US Supreme Court, opening doors of opportunity for women and others at stops along the way. “She’s the reason we’re here,” said Carolina Rabinowicz, 24, a first-year Harvard Law School student from New York, who visited a makeshift memorial outside Langdell Hall, a tear staining her blue face mask. Catherine Walker-Jacks, 25, another first-year student, said her class was reading a 2011 dissent authored by Ginsburg only hours before her death was announced Friday. … Annie Whitney, 24, a first-year Harvard law student from North Carolina, said Ginsburg’s contributions are deeply felt. “RBG’s legacy,” she said, “is one that so many carry forward.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was remembered Friday night by Harvard Law School’s dean as an “inspiring and courageous human being” who was among the great Supreme Court justices. The justice, who died Friday at the age of 87, attended Harvard Law, where she was famously one of only nine women in her class of hundreds. She was also among the first women to serve on its esteemed journal, the Harvard Law Review. …On Friday night, current Harvard Law School Dean John Manning released his statement honoring Ginsburg’s memory. “Her powerful and unyielding commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice under law place her among the great Justices in the annals of the Court. She was also one of the most impactful lawyers of the twentieth-century,” he said.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is known as a trailblazer for gender equality and equal rights, and her death has reverberated around the nation. Former Boston federal judge and WBUR legal analyst Nancy Gertner knew Justice Ginsburg personally, and spoke with WBUR’s Sharon Brody to share her thoughts and memories of a woman she calls “the model of what we wanted to be.”
An op-ed by Nancy Gertner: I was in my late 20s, attending a conference for women lawyers in the 1970s. I sat in the front row of a large auditorium for the keynote address. The speaker was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the founder of the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project. I was mesmerized. She was all that I wanted to be. To devote one’s life to the fight for civil rights, to use legal skills to effect justice, better yet to make a difference — I could think of nothing greater. And I was not alone; generations of civil rights lawyers looked to emulate her. Ginsburg’s vision of gender equality was decades ahead of her time. It went beyond just empowering women to compete for “men’s” roles. While stereotypes distorted women’s view of what was possible, they also impeded men, no less trapped in gender-based assumptions. Equality meant that both sexes should be free to assume all of society’s roles without preconceptions. My son can be a caregiver; my daughter can be an executive. When the school administrators wanted Ginsburg to come to school to discuss her son’s misconduct, she famously said, “This child has two parents.”
An op-ed by Michael Klarman: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, and to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. I had the good fortune to clerk for her when she was on the DC Circuit. … I have two favorite stories about Ginsburg from my clerkship that I like to share with my students. I’ll recount the first of them up here. Both have to do with sports — an obsession of mine that the Justice did not share. Soon after her appointment to the DC Circuit, the Washington football team won the Super Bowl, and there was a celebratory parade down Constitution Avenue, which runs right beside the courthouse. Ginsburg asked her secretary what the noise was about. “Why, judge, that’s the Super Bowl parade,” her secretary replied. To which Ginsburg responded, “What’s the Super Bowl?”
She entered Harvard Law School in 1956 as just one of a few women enrolled in a class of 500. A few years later, the woman who would one day sit on the US Supreme Court was famously rejected by dozens of New York City law firms because of her gender. …“Justice Ginsburg personified the best of what it meant to be a judge,” Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning said in a statement. “She brought a deep intellectual and personal integrity to everything she did. Her powerful and unyielding commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice under law place her among the great Justices in the annals of the Court.” … Martha Minow, a former dean of Harvard Law School, recalled Ginsburg’s impact on her own legal career.“I am one of countless people she directly encouraged and deeply inspired to use reason and argument in service of justice and humanity. .. At this time of deep social and political divisions, there is much to learn from her life and her commitments.” … Nancy Gertner, a retired US district court judge and a professor at Harvard Law School, said Ginsburg had inspired generations of women and wound up a reluctant pop culture icon while approaching the law as “a craftsperson who cared about the court’s precedents and was going to work within them.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’56-58, whose lifelong fight for equal rights helped pave the way for women to take on high-profile roles in business, government, the military, and the Supreme Court, died on Sept. 18. She was 87. “Justice Ginsburg personified the best of what it meant to be a judge. She brought a deep intellectual and personal integrity to everything she did,” said John F. Manning ’85, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “… We have lost a giant.” … “Very few individuals in history come close to the extraordinary and significant role played by Justice Ginsburg in the pursuit of justice before she joined the bench,” said former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard. … “The Constitution’s heart aches at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing,” Laurence Tribe ’66, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. … Harvard Law School Professor Daphna Renan, who served as a law clerk for Justice Ginsburg during the 2006-2007 term, said: “RBG was tenacious, unflappable, and deeply wise.
An article by Noah Feldman: Even before Attorney General William Barr’s reportedsuggestion that protesters be prosecuted for sedition, and that the mayor of Seattle could be targeted with a criminal investigation, the AG was up to his usual stunts. His repeated comments on ballots and voting demonstrate his distinctive way of distorting the truth. Call it lying by legalism. Unlike President Donald Trump, Barr rarely makes a statement that blatantly contradicts reality. Instead, he says deeply misleading things that rely on some contorted, technical explanation. The upshot is that he must be able to tell his conscience that he isn’t lying all — while achieving the Trumpian goal of communicating a state of affairs that is contrary to the truth. There’s something distinctively lawyerly about this method. And it’s a big part of why people hate lawyers. Case in point: At a press conference in Arizona, Barr said“there’s no secret vote” when you mail in your ballot as part of absentee or mail-in voting. “The government and the people involved can find out and know how you voted,” he insisted, “and it opens the door up to coercion.” Fact-checkers hastened to point out that Barr was ignoring laws and procedures that are created specifically to ensure that no one can associate your vote on your mail-in ballot with your particular name and identifying information. Some states have you put your ballot inside a sealed envelope that is itself inside another envelope that has your information on it. In other states, laws prohibit revealing the vote on the ballot while the identity of the voter is being verified. Put simply, Barr distorted the truth. Yet Barr could nevertheless defend himself by saying that, strictly speaking, election officials who choose to break the law and ignore their own procedures could conceivably connect a mail-in ballot with the identity of the voter. In this extremely narrow sense, Barr can claim that he wasn’t “lying”: The possibility that he describes does logically exist.