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Ginsburg's Civil Liberties Record:
ACLU Report Finds Judge Not Bound By Any Agenda
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 1993
NEW YORK -- Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg has compiled a
record as a federal judge that is both thoughtful and sympathetic to civil
liberties concerns, but at the same time shows an unwillingness to be
labelled or adhere to an agenda, according to a report issued today by the
American Civil Liberties Union.
In a report to the ACLU National Board, the ACLU's Legal Department
and its Washington Office, along with a team of private Washington
lawyers, surveyed the approximately 350 opinions that Judge Ginsburg
authored during her 13 years as a federal judge and some of her other
legal writings. The report did not attempt to tackle the hundreds of
opinions that Judge Ginsburg joined, but did not author.
As a federal judge, Ginsburg has shown sensitivity to discrimination
issues involving gender and a strong commitment to First Amendment values
while compiling a mixed record on criminal justice questions and closely
following Supreme Court precedent in other civil liberties areas.
As a nonpartisan organization, the ACLU almost never takes a position
on executive branch nominations. On two occasions in the organization's
73-year history, the ACLU National Board has voted to oppose nominees to
the Supreme Court because they "demonstrate an approach to civil liberties
or to the function of the judiciary that is fundamentally hostile to civil
liberties." The ACLU's policy also calls on the Senate to exercise its
constitutional responsibilities by examining a "nominee's view of the
function of the judiciary and its role in protecting civil liberties," and
by requiring the "nominee to explain and elaborate upon those views during
hearings on the nomination."
"In accordance with ACLU policy, this report does not take a position
on Judge Ginsburg's nomination," said Nadine Strossen, ACLU President.
"Instead it presents an overview of Judge Ginsburg's record on crucial
civil liberties issues and is being released to educate the Senate, as
well as the public, about this aspect of her record."
Before President Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in
Washington, Ginsburg was closely associated with the ACLU, founding the
ACLU's Women's Rights Project and serving as a member of the ACLU National
Board and a General Counsel to the organization.
As an ACLU attorney, Ginsburg brought path-breaking legal cases to
advance gender equality under law. Ginsburg's goal throughout the
approximately 20 cases that she guided while with the ACLU was to bring
the legal standards concerning sex-based discrimination to the point where
they mirrored as closely as possible those governing race-based
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