On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke to CU students in the University Memorial Center for the first day of CU’s Bench and Bar Conference. Ginsburg spoke to a crowded room that resulted in overflow rooms being set up in the Wolf Law Building for students who watched the speech on television.
Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1993, focused on influential decisions she made as a Supreme Court Justice, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, equal pay for equal work and gay rights.
While it was a formal presentation, Ginsburg made several jokes that made the audience feel connected to her. An audience member asked her how she felt about the current number of female Justices on the Supreme Court (three out of nine) and when there would be enough.
“When there are nine female Supreme Court Justices,” Ginsburg said.
One of the many students in attendance was Eden Rolland, an 18 year-old freshman pre-law student.
“[Ginsburg] was really influential, and she gave a personal story about how [the country has] come a long way, which inspired me to keep studying and pursuing what I want,” Rolland said.
Ginsburg also discussed some of the more difficult choices she’s made, especially the recent votes upholding health care reform. Despite disagreeing with some elements of the reform, she told the audience she was “proud” of the vote she eventually cast.
For CU students, it was a rare and much-appreciated opportunity to listen to someone so historically important.
Melissa Jensen, a 23-year-old student in the law school, said that Ginsburg’s message resonated with her.
“Her overall concept of [her] legal career was based primarily on service,” Jenson said, adding that the statement is something she’ll remember while pursuing her career.
“I respect that she doesn’t come out and make choices before her court decisions, even when she had the unique confirmation hearings,” said Christina Warner, another 23-year-old law student.
Justice Ginsburg wrapped up the evening on a motivational note.
“Everyone should feel free to aspire and believe that anything is possible with progressional movement,” Ginsberg said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Juan Medina at Juan.firstname.lastname@example.org.