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Thread: Justice Ginsburg saw raw racism & sex discrimination long before she joined the court

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    Default Justice Ginsburg saw raw racism & sex discrimination long before she joined the court

    Ginsburg said she had lived in Oklahoma more than half a century ago and remembered it well — but not fondly.

    In 1954, she and Marty Ginsburg graduated from Cornell University, were married that summer and moved to Fort Sill, in southwest Oklahoma, where he was attending an Army officers' training program.

    "I remember all the signs. 'Whites only' and worse. On stores. Along the road," she told me in that soft voice. The brutality of racism "was very open."

    It was also at Fort Sill where she first encountered blatant sex discrimination.

    She had qualified for a job as a claims adjuster for Social Security. But a male supervisor said she would be paid at a lower GS-2 rate because she was pregnant and might not be able to travel.

    This was two years before she enrolled at Harvard Law School, one of only nine women, and a dean asked why the women were taking slots that could go to men.

    And it was well before she graduated first in her class at Columbia Law School (she followed Marty to New York as well), but could not find a job at a New York law firm or in a judge's chambers.

    And it was long before she co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972 and began taking sex bias cases to the Supreme Court.

    Ginsburg's legacy as a champion of women's rights has drawn the most attention and praise in her passing, but her clerks and the other justices remember her as an extraordinarily hard worker.

    They recall her going to restaurants or the theater, and at slow moments, pulling a little flashlight from her purse to read briefs or memos from her purse.

    She was a lawyer's lawyer — precise and careful with her words, whether speaking or writing. She worked everywhere and late into the night. Reading briefs and revising and editing draft opinions.

    Even in her 80s, as she grew more frail and battled recurrent bouts of cancer, Ginsburg could be counted upon to always ask some of the most penetrating questions during oral arguments.

    In conversations public and private, Ginsburg often spoke of bias and discrimination —of how it persisted, even if it was not as blatant as in times past.

    She was attuned to unfairness, bias and inequality, and she was sometimes frustrated that her colleagues — graduates of elite private schools and Ivy League universities, as she was — seemed blind to it.

    This difference of perception played out in a major battle over voting rights.

    "Things have changed in the South," Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote in 2009, shortly after Barack Obama became the first Black man to win the White House, arguing the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 was outdated and unnecessary.

    In 2013, the Supreme Court's conservatives by a 5-4 vote struck down a key part of the law that blocked the Southern states from making changes in their election procedures and voting rules if doing so might discriminate against Black and Latino voters.

    Ginsburg was not impressed with this pollyanish thinking.

    The "scourge of discrimination" has not gone way, she wrote in dissent, even if it had gone into hiding. Moreover, Congress had voted overwhelmingly to keep the law in place, she said.
    Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. Albert Einstein

    America's future is bright, not white

    And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment

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