June 14, 1993 The White House Office of the Press Secretary The following material was rel

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June 14, 1993 The White House Office of the Press Secretary The following material was released today by the White House. This releases includes a biography of Judge Ginsburg, fact sheet and letters of support received by the White House. Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for D.C. Appointed in 1980 by President Carter, she was honored by the American Bar Association with an "exceptionally well qualified" rating. She is recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished jurists, in 1991 The American Lawyer rated her a "First-Rate Centrist" candidate for the Supreme Court. As a jurist, Ginsburg has focused on the need for cooperation among judges on a collegial court. Her writings demonstrate her belief in the need for consensus building in opinion writing. Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Ginsburg was a constitutional law and procedures professor at Columbia University Law School for nine years. Judge Ginsburg's legal career before her appointment to the bench demonstrates her commitment to ending discrimination against women. During her tenure at Columbia, Judge Ginsburg led the Women's Rights Project in an impressive series of Supreme Court victories; Ginsburg had a role in winning virtually every Supreme Court case in the 1970s that invalidated laws discriminating against women. Outstanding civil rights cases argued by Judge Ginsburg are: Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973); Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975); Edwards v. Healy, 421 U.S. 772 (1975); Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977); Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357 (1979). For nine years she taught at Rutgers University Law School where she was promoted from Assistant Professor, to Associate Professor in 1966, then onto full professor in 1969. Prior to her teaching career, Judge Ginsburg served as a law clerk at Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933, where she was raised. She gained her B.A. in 1954 from Cornell University. In 1956, Judge Ginsburg entered Harvard Law School, where she was one of fewer than a dozen women students. She transferred to Columbia Law School where she completed her J.D. in 1959. She was a member of both the Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews. Judge Ginsburg is married to Martin Ginsburg, a Professor of Taxation at Georgetown Law Center and a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Fried, Frank, Harris & Shriver. The Ginsburgs have two grown children, Jane, a law professor at Columbia, and James, a law student at the University of Chicago and producer of classical recordings. FACT SHEET: RUTH BADER GINSBURG Judicial Record * Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. * Received American Bar Association's highest rating ("exceptionally well qualified") at the time of her appointment. * In 1991, rated by American Lawyer magazine as a "First-Rate Centrist" candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. * Authored numerous books and articles on sex discrimination, constitutional law, and legal procedure. * Wrote key opinions in areas of civil rights, freedoms of speech and religion, sex discrimination, and criminal law. (A full analysis is attached.) Known as consensus-builder on the D.C. Circuit. Lawyer and Law Professor * As head of the Women's Rights Project, briefed or argued virtually every major sex discrimination case before the Supreme Court in the 1970s. * She personally presented oral argument in six of these Supreme Court cases -- and won five. (A list of these cases is attached.) * Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law, and Rutgers University Law School. Society of American Law Teachers, Outstanding Teacher Award (1979). Personal History * Born, 1933; Brooklyn, New York. Married to Martin Ginsburg in 1954. Two Children: Jane and James. Two grandchildren. Religion: Jewish. * Graduated from Cornell University; attended Harvard Law School (where she was the first woman Editor of the Harvard Law Review) and Columbia University School of Law. Georgetown University Law Center Office of the Dean May 14, 1993 The Honorable William J. Clinton President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear President Clinton: This letter is to convey my strong support for the nomination of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the United States Supreme Court and to challenge recent statements in the media that have suggested that her nomination would not be widely or enthusiastically supported by women. Ruth Ginsburg almost single-handedly moved the Supreme Court in the 1970's to first acknowledge and then to repudiate discrimination against women. Simultaneously she was a pioneer in opening the closed ranks of the faculties of the leading law schools in this country to women. Her courage, her judgement and her outstanding legal skills have inspired a generation of lawyers. When I prepared the first edition of my Family Law casebook fifteen years ago, Ruth Ginsburg's piece on Gender and the Constitution was the obvious candidate to present the field to law students. Its power is only stronger today because Judge Ginsburg's leadership and accomplishments continue to inspire students and faculty alike. I urge you to nominate her to the court. She is superbly qualified for the position and her selection will be hailed by women around the country. Sincerely, Judith Areen Dean Letters of Support: Stanford University Office of the President Gerhard Casper The Honorable William J. Clinton President of the United States The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I should like to ask you to give the most serious consideration to the appointment of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court of the United States. In terms of her ability, temperament, capacity to relate to colleagues of various views, and her stature among the judiciary, Judge Ginsburg's appointment would do much to increase respect for the Supreme Court. I think it would also bring great credit to your administration. I have known Judge Ginsburg for about fifteen years and have had many occasions to admire her excellent judgment and her capacity to build a consensus for a sensible result. She would be a very great judge. With high regard. Sincerely, Gerhard Casper cc: Bernard Nussbaum, Esq. Counsel to the President The Center For Reproductive Law and Policy 120 Wall Street New York, New York 10005 212-514-5534 212-514-5538 fax May 13, 1993 President William Clinton The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20500 Re: Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dear President Clinton, I am writing to highly recommend that Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg be considered for a position on the United States Supreme Court. I have known Judge Ginsburg for over 20 years and during that time she has consistently proven herself to be a distinguished jurist, whose deep commitment to justice and exceptional treatment of the law is inspiring. I first met Judge Ginsburg in 1970 when, during my second year at Harvard Law School, the Woman Law Student's Association, which I founded, succeeded in getting the University to bring her in as a visiting professor. That effort ended up in having a greater impact on my life than I had anticipated. Judge Ginsburg was a stimulating teacher, as well as the only woman professor I ever had in either law school or college. In fact, it was her course, "Women and the Law," that determined my career path and, for better or for worse, I have been practicing constitutional privacy law for the last 20 years. Over the course of the last two decades, I have watched Ms. Ginsburg evolve as a constitutional theorist and exercise her extraordinary legal mind and deep personal commitment to advance the interests of justice. She has exhibited particular concern in the areas of basic human rights of women, and issues of bodily integrity and privacy. She is the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law. Like that great man, while she clearly has a passion for the law and specifically these issues, she does not allow her emotions or politics to cloud her judgment. She is a profoundly fair and thoughtful individual. I cannot recommend Ms. Ginsburg highly enough. her commitment to the Constitution and the rights protected therein, her sharp intellect and her understanding of the law's impact on individuals make her a superb candidate for appointment to the Supreme Court. I have no doubt that as a champion of the basic human rights of all Americans she would make a lasting impression on the Court for she is, indeed, a remarkable woman. Were she to join the Court, she would eventually be considered one of the Court's great justices. I believe that her particular expertise in constitutional issues will benefit the development of the law and in the area of reproductive privacy. Because she has such extensive experience in examining both the liberty and equality components of constitutional issues she is uniquely equipped to develop and enrich the doctrines underlying reproductive privacy. I urge you to give her your special attention. Respectfully Yours, Janet Benshoof Georgetown University Law Center Patricia King May 18, 1993 Professor of Law The President The White House Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: Though you have a number of fine candidates to fill the seat on the Supreme Court being vacated by Justice Byron White, I think none measures up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been a citizen-leader who fought to bring more fairness to our laws, a highly respected legal scholar, and a polished, disciplined and extraordinarily professional Federal appellate judge. I first met Judge Ginsburg when I was serving as a member of President Carter's Judicial Nominating Commission for the District of Columbia Circuit, and she was a candidate for the seat she now holds. My judgment then was that she was a highly principled person whose passions were deepened and made more effective by a penetrating intellect and a disciplined judicial temperament. I supported her nomination then and I think her performance on the court of appeals has more than fulfilled the conclusion I came to during those deliberations. Over the years, Judge Ginsburg has displayed the essence of what we call judicial temperament. She has demonstrated a profound commitment to fundamental values of fairness to individuals and respect and balance among governing institutions. She brings an open mind to her work rather than a set of predispositions and she listens hard to the arguments presented by the parties. She has respect for the deliberative process and she is highly skilled in working with other judges in (again) listening, persuading, compromising and ultimately in developing opinions that preserve essential values and enhance respect for law. She is not a loner whose egotistical crusades might tend to undermine respect for the institution. As a black person, I think it is important for me to say that I believe that Judge Ginsburg has been very good on racial issues. Though she has been a leader in legal feminist thought, and recognizes that racial discrimination shares some qualities with other forms of discrimination, she has never lost sight of the fact that racial discrimination in our society is more invidious than the other forms in our culture. Having said that, I must also say -- as a woman -- that Judge Ginsburg's life's work, her values and everything she has ever stood for, demonstrate a special commitment to women. She surely holds to the ideal that women should control their own destiny including control over reproductive decision-making. She has been criticized by some for views expressed in her Madison Lecture that perhaps the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade was more sweeping than it needed to be to strike down the Texas anti-abortion statute. That is not a radical position. It was held by many who held pro-choice views at the time, who saw flaws in the opinion and who thought that a narrower opinion supplemented by state legislative strategies might have yielded better results for women with less division in the nation. The views that Judge Ginsburg expressed in the Madison Lecture do not detract in any measure from her commitment to reproductive freedom, but rather, reflect her views about the role of the Supreme Court and how it should make decisions in a context that includes roles for other organs of government. There is nothing in the Madison Lecture that shakes my faith in Judge Ginsburg's profound commitment to the fullest role for women in our society and her determination to held insure reproductive freedom for all women. In sum, I believe that Judge Ginsburg, because of her intellect, her measured passion, her discipline, her love for the law and her broad and rich experience is the best possible choice available to you for appointment to the Supreme Court at this time. I think that such an appointment should serve the best interests of the nation, improve the quality of work on that Court and reflect great credit on that president who appointed her. Respectfully, Patricia A. King CC: Bernard W. Nussbaum University of California School of Law April 24, 1993 President Bill Clinton The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: I understand that you are considering Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg for nomination to the Untied States Supreme Court. I write in enthusiastic support of her nomination. Her qualifications for this exalted position are superb, her experience on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has readied her for the High Court, her qualities of leadership can help strengthen the court, and her integrity is unquestionable. I think you could not choose a better Supreme Court Justice than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I have known Ruth as a co-author (on our casebook on Sex-Based Discrimination), as one of my fellow early woman law professors (I began teaching law at Berkeley in 1960, she started at Rutgers in 1963: both of us are among the first 20 full-time women law professors at ABA-approved law schools in the history of this country), and as a close friend. I have spent my professional life working on issues dealing with the equality of women; and I can say from first-hand knowledge that Ruth has done as much or more to further that effort during the past 30 years than any other single person. Quite literally, it was Ruth Ginsburg's voice, raised in oral argument before the United States Supreme Court, that opened new opportunities for women of this country. Both as an effective advocate for women's rights in that exalted forum, and by showing the Justices of the Supreme Court how to make room for women in the Constitution by dynamic reinterpretation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses, she built a new legal framework for the achievement of equality for women and men. The circle of Supreme Court advocates is a limited one. For many of the few lawyers privileged to appear in that arena, the oral argument is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. During the 1970s, when the Court reshaped the meaning of equality for women, Ruth Ginsburg was a regular participant in the process. Working with the ACLU Women's Rights Project, she filed briefs in nine of the major sex discrimination cases decided during this period, and presented oral arguments in six. In addition, she filed amicus briefs in fifteen cases. I watched her argue several cases. She was completely assured, totally prepared, meticulous in her knowledge of the details of her argument, and utterly convincing. She won most of these cases. Her experience as an advocate before the Supreme Court has already helped her as she sits now as a Judge on the Court of Appeals. It will be even more important when she takes her seat as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Ruth Ginsburg has always stood at the pinnacle of each field she has entered. As one of the small band of women who became law students in the 1950s, she studied both at Harvard and Columbia, and was chosen as a member of the Law Review at both schools. She graduated from Columbia in 1959, and spent two years working for Judge Edmund Palmieri in the Federal District of New York as one of the first women law clerks. In 1963, she entered legal education as a faculty member at Rutgers, and in 1972 she became the first woman law professor at Columbia. In 1972-73, she was director of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, and between 1973 and 1980, she served as General counsel for the ACLU. In that capacity, she conceived and carried out the ACLU's strategy in the path-breaking sex discrimination cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a post she continues to hold with great distinction. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has great distinction as a scholar. It is no exaggeration to say that she created the intellectual foundations for the present law of sex discrimination. Her briefs, her law review articles, and the successor editions to her co-authored casebook on the subject help define the field even today. Moreover, she is a brilliant constitutional scholar. Her expertise in this area both as a professor and as a Judge is widely known and much admired. She will bring a deep knowledge of the Constitution to her work as a Justice of the Supremecourt. Sincerely, Herma Hill Kay cc: Mr. Bernard Nussbaum Assistant to the President and Counsel STANFORD LAW SCHOOL April, 19 1993 Gerald Gunther William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Clinton: I write to urge you to give the most serious consideration, in selecting a Supreme Court Justice to succeed Justice White, to Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit. I do not lightly volunteer advice to the appointing authority; indeed, I have never before written to the President to urge the selection of a particular nominee for the Supreme Court. But these are exceptional times, and this is an appointment of exceptional importance. And I have a very strong interest in the future of our Supreme Court, both in my professional capacity and as a scholar and a teacher and as a (Democratic) voter and citizen. I have been a teacher of constitutional law for more than thirty-five years, at Columbia, Harvard, and, for most of my career, here at Stanford. I have written extensively about the subject; I am the author of a widely used casebook in the field; I have had a special reason to give attention to the qualities of judging in my work in recent years on the first full biography of Judge Learned Hand (a book that should come off the press within the year). Given this background and my extensive attention to judging on the Supreme Court for decades, I am convinced that Ruth Ginsburg, more than anyone else I have heard mentioned, possesses all of the qualities you should cherish in selecting a Justice. I have known Ruth Ginsburg for more than thirty years. She was my student at Columbia law School in the late 1950'sas then in charge of Columbia's judicial clerkship program, and I have helped place her with a fine federal trial judge in New York (overcoming much effort his reluctance to hire a woman law clerk); I have followed her work closely over the years, both in her scholarly capacity as a faculty member at Rutgers and at Columbia and especially in her work on behalf of women's rights as a brief-writer and oral advocate before the Supreme Court; I was a speaker at her investiture as a judge of the Court of Appeals; and I have watched her performance on the D.C. Circuit with great interest and attention. Ruth was a brilliant student and has demonstrated extraordinary intellectual capacities in everything she has done in her life. Among other achievements, she compiled an impressive record of scholarship in her early years as an academic, largely in the fields of comparative civil procedure. In the early 1970s, she was in effect drafted to be the legal leader of the campaign to establish heightened judicial scrutiny of gender classifications under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The reason for this change in focus of her career is clear: there were regrettably few women lawyers at the time, as you well know, and Ruth was the odds-on choice, in light of her energy and intellect, to lead the campaign to persuade the courts to take sex discrimination seriously. She organized the Women's Rights Project of the ACLU and quickly became an ACLU General Counsel, and throughout that decade, in a triumphant performance that overcame many obstacles, she attained achievements that are now an imperishable part of American legal history. Her name was on the brief in every single important sex discrimination case during the 1970s, and frequently she argued the cases as well, from Reed v. Reed to Frontiero v. Richardson, Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, and beyond. As you know, it was during that decade during which she played a leading role that most of the modern law of gender discrimination was established. She attained her goals not by flamboyant emotionalism but by the most extraordinary lawyerlike, persuasive performance before the Court. During those years, I occasionally consulted with her about this knotty problems or that arose in the course of a case; she was usually the first to see the problem, and she was brilliant in fashioning persuasive argument to overcome each obstacle. To this admiringly of her contribution every time I teach my constitutional law class. In 1980, President Carter had the wisdom to name her to the D.C. Circuit. When I spoke at her investiture ceremony, I compared her talents to those of Learned Hand. Members of the audience--and members of both the liberal and conservative wings of that long divided court--spoke to me at the reception following the ceremony, typically winking knowingly at me, suggesting that I knew that the praise I was heaping on Ruth was not serious yet was no doubt effective in persuading the assemblage to think well of her. I do not have a great track record in predictions, and I therefore have taken special delight and satisfaction in the fact that my guesses about Judge Ginsburg proved absolutely accurate. Over the years, the press has repeatedly reported that she has emerged as the critical moderate liberal on that bench--liberal, to be sure, but also capable of maintaining excellent relations with those to the right of her (which have included Judges Bork and Scalia), reaching out far more effectively to them than any of her liberal colleagues and proving superbly effective in acting as a consensus-builder. Her opinions, which I have read quite carefully over the last thirteen years, help explain her success on the bench, and reveal qualities which I would hope would be important to you in selecting a Justice. These qualities include, above all, an obvious belief in and fidelity to law, careful attention to the records before her, and an appropriate respect for the force of precedent. I believe her opinions are models of careful craftsmanship, and they reflect her integrity and her analytical skills in action. Ruth Ginsburg, as her entire career shows, also is characteristically sympathetic to the fact that the disputes before her involve human beings and that the courts' rulings have an impact upon human beings; one would expect no less in a person who is herself a splendid human being who has manages to integrate with great skill her roles as a lawyer and judge as well as wife and mother. She knows that above all her task is to apply the law in accordance with the intent of those with the authority to enact it, and to make law herself only interstitially. In short, in my view Ruth Ginsburg combines to an extraordinary degree the qualities of superb analyitical ability, capacity for leadership, proven success in consensus-building, and deep-seated faithfulness to the law that I would hope you would consider essential in a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I know I speak for many in the profession, legal academics as well as practitioners, who would be deeply gratified if you were to accord her the most earnest and serious consideration of the appointment. With high regard, Sincerely yours, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL April, 19 1993 Gerald Gunther William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Clinton: I write to urge you to give the most serious consideration, in selecting a Supreme Court Justice to succeed Justice White, to Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit. I do not lightly volunteer advice to the appointing authority; indeed, I have never before written to the President to urge the selection of a particular nominee for the Supreme Court. But these are exceptional times, and this is an appointment of exceptional importance. And I have a very strong interest in the future of our Supreme Court, both in my professional capacity and as a scholar and a teacher and as a (Democratic) voter and citizen. I have been a teacher of constitutional law for more than thirty-five years, at Columbia, Harvard, and, for most of my career, here at Stanford. I have written extensively about the subject; I am the author of a widely used casebook in the field; I have had a special reason to give attention to the qualities of judging in my work in recent years on the first full biography of Judge Learned Hand (a book that should come off the press within the year). Given this background and my extensive attention to judging on the Supreme Court for decades, I am convinced that Ruth Ginsburg, more than anyone else I have heard mentioned, possesses all of the qualities you should cherish in selecting a Justice. I have known Ruth Ginsburg for more than thirty years. She was my student at Columbia law School in the late 1950'sas then in charge of Columbia's judicial clerkship program, and I have helped place her with a fine federal trial judge in New York (overcoming much effort his reluctance to hire a woman law clerk); I have followed her work closely over the years, both in her scholarly capacity as a faculty member at Rutgers and at Columbia and especially in her work on behalf of women's rights as a brief-writer and oral advocate before the Supreme Court; I was a speaker at her investiture as a judge of the Court of Appeals; and I have watched her performance on the D.C. Circuit with great interest and attention. Ruth was a brilliant student and has demonstrated extraordinary intellectual capacities in everything she has done in her life. Among other achievements, she compiled an impressive record of scholarship in her early years as an academic, largely in the fields of comparative civil procedure. In the early 1970s, she was in effect drafted to be the legal leader of the campaign to establish heightened judicial scrutiny of gender classifications under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The reason for this change in focus of her career is clear: there were regrettably few women lawyers at the time, as you well know, and Ruth was the odds-on choice, in light of her energy and intellect, to lead the campaign to persuade the courts to take sex discrimination seriously. She organized the Women's Rights Project of the ACLU and quickly became an ACLU General Counsel, and throughout that decade, in a triumphant performance that overcame many obstacles, she attained achievements that are now an imperishable part of American legal history. Her name was on the brief in every single important sex discrimination case during the 1970s, and frequently she argued the cases as well, from Reed v. Reed to Frontiero v. Richardson, Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, and beyond. As you know, it was during that decade during which she played a leading role that most of the modern law of gender discrimination was established. She attained her goals not by flamboyant emotionalism but by the most extraordinary lawyerlike, persuasive performance before the Court. During those years, I occasionally consulted with her about this knotty problems or that arose in the course of a case; she was usually the first to see the problem, and she was brilliant in fashioning persuasive argument to overcome each obstacle. To this admiringly of her contribution every time I teach my constitutional law class. In 1980, President Carter had the wisdom to name her to the D.C. Circuit. When I spoke at her investiture ceremony, I compared her talents to those of Learned Hand. Members of the audience--and members of both the liberal and conservative wings of that long divided court--spoke to me at the reception following the ceremony, typically winking knowingly at me, suggesting that I knew that the praise I was heaping on Ruth was not serious yet was no doubt effective in persuading the assemblage to think well of her. I do not have a great track record in predictions, and I therefore have taken special delight and satisfaction in the fact that my guesses about Judge Ginsburg proved absolutely accurate. Over the years, the press has repeatedly reported that she has emerged as the critical moderate liberal on that bench--liberal, to be sure, but also capable of maintaining excellent relations with those to the right of her (which have included Judges Bork and Scalia), reaching out far more effectively to them than any of her liberal colleagues and proving superbly effective in acting as a consensus-builder. Her opinions, which I have read quite carefully over the last thirteen years, help explain her success on the bench, and reveal qualities which I would hope would be important to you in selecting a Justice. These qualities include, above all, an obvious belief in and fidelity to law, careful attention to the records before her, and an appropriate respect for the force of precedent. I believe her opinions are models of careful craftsmanship, and they reflect her integrity and her analytical skills in action. Ruth Ginsburg, as her entire career shows, also is characteristically sympathetic to the fact that the disputes before her involve human beings and that the courts' rulings have an impact upon human beings; one would expect no less in a person who is herself a splendid human being who has manages to integrate with great skill her roles as a lawyer and judge as well as wife and mother. She knows that above all her task is to apply the law in accordance with the intent of those with the authority to enact it, and to make law herself only interstitially. In short, in my view Ruth Ginsburg combines to an extraordinary degree the qualities of superb analyitical ability, capacity for leadership, proven success in consensus-building, and deep-seated faithfulness to the law that I would hope you would consider essential in a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I know I speak for many in the profession, legal academics as well as practitioners, who would be deeply gratified if you were to accord her the most earnest and serious consideration of the appointment. With high regard, Sincerely yours, ===================================================================== THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 14, 1993 REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUPREME COURT NOMINATION OF JUDGE RUTH BADER GINSBURG The Rose Garden 2:07 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Please be seated. I wish you all a good afternoon, and I thank the members of the Congress and other interested Americans who are here. In just a few days when the Supreme Court concludes its term, Justice Byron White will begin a new chapter in his long and productive life. He has served the Court as he has lived, with distinction, intelligence and honor. And he retires from public service with the deep gratitude of all the American people. Article II, Section II of the United States Constitution empowers the President to select a nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States. This responsibility is one of the most significant duties assigned to the President by the Constitution. A Supreme Court justice has life tenure, unlike the President -- (laughter) -- and along with his or her colleagues, decides the most significant questions of our time and shapes the continuing contours of our liberty. I care a lot about this responsibility, not only because I am a lawyer, but because I used to teach constitutional law and I served my state as attorney general. I know well how the Supreme Court affects the lives of all Americans personally and deeply. I know clearly that a Supreme Court justice should have the heart and spirit, the talent and discipline, the knowledge, common sense and wisdom to translate the hopes of the American people as presented in the cases before it into an enduring body of constitutional law. A constitutional law that will preserve our most cherished values that are enshrined in that Constitution, and at the same time, enable the American people to move forward. That is what I promised the American people in a justice when I ran for President, and I believe it is a promise that I am delivering on today. After careful reflection, I am proud to nominate for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia. I will send her name to the Senate to fill the vacancy created by Justice White's retirement. As I told Judge Ginsburg last night when I called to ask her to accept the nomination, I decided on her for three reasons: First, in her years on the bench she had genuinely distinguished herself as one of our nation's best judges -- progressive in outlook, wise in judgment, balanced and fair in her opinions. Second, over the course of a lifetime in her pioneering work in behalf of the women of this country, she has compiled a truly historic record of achievement in the finest traditions of American law and citizenship. And finally, I believe that in the years ahead, she will be able to be a force for consensus-building on the Supreme Court, just as she has been on the Court of Appeals, so that our judges can become an instrument of our common unity in the expression of their fidelity to the Constitution. Judge Ginsburg received her undergraduate degree from Cornell. She attended both Harvard and Columbia Law Schools and served on the Law Reviews of both institutions, the first woman to have earned this distinction. She was a law clerk to a federal judge, a law professor at Rutgers and Columbia Law Schools. She argued six landmark cases on behalf of women before the United States Supreme Court and, happily, won five out of six. For the past 13 years she has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the second highest court in our country, where her work has brought her national acclaim and on which she was able to amass a record that caused a national legal journal in 1991 to name her as one of the nation's leading centrist judges. In the months and years ahead, the country will have the opportunity to get to know much more about Ruth Ginsburg's achievements, decency, humanity and fairness. People will find, as I have, that this nominee is a person of immense character. Quite simply, what's in her record speaks volumes about what is in her heart. Throughout her life, she has repeatedly stood for the individual, the person less well-off, the outsider in society, and has given those people greater hope by telling them that they have a place in our legal system by giving them a sense that the Constitution and the laws protect all the American people, not simply the powerful. Judge Ginsburg has also proven herself to be a healer -- what attorneys call a moderate. Time and again, her moral imagination has cooled the fires of her colleagues' discord, ensuring that the right of jurists to dissent ennobles the law without entangling the Court. The announcement of this vacancy brought forth a unique outpouring of support from distinguished Americans on Judge Ginsburg's behalf. What caused that outpouring is the essential quality of the Judge herself. Her deep respect for others and her willingness to subvert self-interest to the interest of our people and their institutions. In one of her own writings about what it is like to be a Justice, Judge Ginsburg quotes Justice Lewis Brandeis, who once said, "The Supreme Court is not a place for solo performers." If this is a time for consensus-building on the Court -- and I believe it is --Judge Ginsburg will be an able and effective architect of that effort. It is important to me that Judge Ginsburg came to her views and attitudes by doing, not merely by reading and studying. Despite her enormous ability and academic achievements, she could not get a job with a law firm in the early 1960s because she was a woman and the mother of a small child. Having experienced discrimination, she devoted the next 20 years of her career to fighting it and making this country a better place for our wives, our mothers, our sisters and our daughters. She, herself, argued and won many of the women's rights cases before the Supreme Court in the 1970s. Many admirers of her work say that she is to the women's movement what former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was to the movement for the rights of African Americans. I can think of no greater compliment to bestow on an American lawyer. And she has done all of this and a lot of other things as well by raising a family with her husband, Marty, whom she married 39 years ago, as a very young woman. (Laughter.) Together they had two children, Jane and James, and they now have two grandchildren. Hers is a remarkable record of distinction and achievement, both professional and personal. During the selection process, we reviewed the qualifications of more than 40 potential nominees. It was a long, exhaustive search. And during that time we identified several wonderful Americans whom I think could be outstanding nominees to the Supreme Court in the future. Among the best were the Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, whose strong legal background as Arizona's Attorney General and recent work balancing the competing interests of environmentalists and others in the very difficult issues affecting the American west made him a highly qualified candidate for the Court. And I had the unusual experience, something unique to me, of being flooded with calls all across America from Babbitt admirers who pleaded with me not to put him on the Court and take him away from the Interior Department. I also carefully considered the Chief Judge of the First Circuit, Judge Stephen Breyer of Boston, a man whose character, confidence and legal scholarship impressed me very greatly. I believe he has a very major role to play in public life. I believe he is superbly qualified to be on the Court. And I think either one of these candidates, as well as the handful of others whom I closely considered, may well find themselves in that position someday in the future. Let me say in closing that Ruth Bader Ginsburg cannot be called a liberal or a conservative; she has proved herself too thoughtful for such labels. As she, herself, put it in one of her articles, and I quote: "The greatest figures of the American judiciary have been independent thinking individuals with open, but not empty minds; individuals willing to listen and to learn. They have exhibited a readiness to reexamine their own premises, liberal or conservative, as thoroughly as those of others." That, I believe, describes Judge Ginsburg. And those, I too, believe are the qualities of a great justice. If, as I believe, the measure of a person's values can best be measured by examining the life the person lives, then Judge Ginsburg's values are the very ones that represent the best in America. I am proud to nominate this path-breaking attorney, advocate and judge to be the 107th Justice to the United States Supreme Court. (Applause.) JUDGE GINSBURG: Mr. President, I am grateful beyond measure for the confidence you have placed in me, and I will strive with all that I have to live up to your expectations in making this appointment. I appreciate, too, the special caring of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the more so because I do not actually know the Senator. I was born and brought up in New York, the state Senator Moynihan represents, and he was the very first person to call with good wishes when President Carter nominated me in 1980 to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Senator Moynihan has offered the same encouragement on this occasion. May I introduce at this happy moment three people very special to me -- my husband, Martin D. Ginsburg; my son-in-law, George T. Sparrow, Jr.; and my son, James Stephen Ginsburg. (Applause.) The announcement the President just made is significant, I believe, because it contributes to the end of the days when women, at least half the talent pool in our society, appear in high places only as one-at-a-time performers. Recall that when President Carter took office in 1976, no woman ever served on the Supreme Court. And only one woman, Shirley Hufstedler, of California then served at the next federal court level, the United States Courts of Appeals. Today, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor graces the Supreme Court bench. And close to 25 women serve at the Federal Court of Appeals level, too, as chief judges. I am confident that more will soon join them. That seems to me inevitable given the change in law school enrollment. My law school class in that late 1950s numbered over 500. That class included less than 10 women. As the President said, not a law firm in the entire city of New York bid for my employment as a lawyer when I earned my degree. Today, few law schools have female enrollment under 40 percent, and several have reached or passed the 50-percent mark. And thanks to Title VII, no entry doors are barred. My daughter, Jane, reminded me a few hours ago in a good-luck call from Australia of a sign of the change we have had the good fortune to experience. In her high school yearbook, on her graduation in 1973, the listing for Jane Ginsburg, under ambition, was: "To see her mother appointed to the Supreme Court." (Laughter.) The next line read: "If necessary, Jane will appoint her." (Laughter.) Jane is so pleased, Mr. President, that you did it instead; and her brother, James, is, too. I expect to be asked in some detail about my views of the work of a good judge on a high court bench. This afternoon is not the moment for extended remarks on that subject, but I might state a few prime guides. Chief Justice Rehnquist offered one I keep in the front of my mind: "A judge is bound to decide each case fairly in accord with the relevant facts and the applicable law even when the decision is not," as he put it, "what the home crowd wants." Next, I know no better summary than the one Justice O'Connor recently provided, drawn from a paper by New York University Law School Professor Burt Neuborne. The remarks concern the enduring influence of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. They read: "When a modern constitutional judge is confronted with a hard case, Holmes is at her side with three gentle reminders. First, intellectual honesty about the available policy choices. Second, disciplined self-restraint in respecting the majority's policy choice. And, third, principled commitment to defense of individual autonomy even in the face of majority action. To that, I can only say amen. I am indebted to so many for this extraordinary chance and challenge: To a revived women's movement in the 1970s that opened doors for people like me. To the civil rights movement of the 1960s from which the women's movement drew inspiration. To my teaching colleagues at Rutgers and Columbia; and for 13 years, my D.C. Circuit colleagues who shaped and heightened my appreciation of the value of collegiality. Most closely, I have been aided by my life's partner, Martin D. Ginsburg, who has been since our teenage years my best friend and biggest booster; by my mother-in-law, Evelyn Ginsburg, the most supportive parent a person could have; and by a daughter and son, with the taste to appreciate that Daddy cooks ever so much better than Mommy -- (laughter) -- and so phased me out of the kitchen at a relatively early age. Finally, I know Hillary Rodham Clinton has encouraged and supported the President's decision to utilize the skills and talents of all the people of the United States. I did not until today know Mrs. Clinton, but I hasten to add that I am not the first member of my family to stand close to her. There is another I love dearly to whom the First Lady is already an old friend, my wonderful granddaughter, Clara -- (laughter) -- witness this super, unposed photograph taken last October when Mrs. Clinton visited the nursery school in New York and led the little ones in "the tooth- brush song." (Laughter.) This small person right in front is Clara. I have a last thank-you; it is to my mother, Celia Amster Bader, the bravest and strongest person I have known, who was taken from me much too soon. I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve, and daughters are cherished as much as sons. I look forward to stimulating weeks this summer; and if I am confirmed, to working at a neighboring Court to the best of my ability for the advancement of the law in the service of society. Thank you. (Applause.) Q The withdrawal of the Guinier nomination, sir, and your apparent focus on Judge Breyer and your turn, late, it seems, to Judge Ginsburg, may have created an impression, perhaps unfair, of a certain zig-zag quality in the decision-making process here. I wonder, sir, if you could kind of walk us through it and perhaps disabuse us of any notion we might have along those lines. Thank you. THE PRESIDENT: I have long since given up the thought that I could disabuse some of you of turning any substantive decision into anything but political process. How you could ask a question like that after the statement she just made is beyond me. (Applause.) Thank you. END2:30 P.M. EDT

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