Cornell alum and Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Ginsburg sat down and talked with students from three different colleges this past Friday at the Supreme Court. I was lucky enough to be one of the 20 or so Cornell students who attended the discussion with her. Students from Hamilton College and American University were also in attendance.
The value of the experience can be explained by itself and doesn’t need to be verbalized by myself. What was interesting though was thinking about how Ginsburg, as a woman during the 50’s and 60’s, dealt with the sexism. She was only one of nine women attending Harvard Law School, and during her undergraduate days at Cornell, females made up only 25% of the student body whereas now they total 51%. On top of that, women were discouraged from going into law. In fact, not one law firm in New York City hired Ginsburg after she graduated as valedictorian from Cornell and in the top of her class at Harvard.
While I don’t think I’ve ever met a physically smaller person (her glasses were definitely bigger than her), her emotional strength really speaks volumes about her as a person. That and she could kick Scalia’s butt, though apparently they go to different restaurants and operas together. I didn’t ask Justice Ginsburg if that was true, but I recall reading it in some newspaper article.