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Feinstein: Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently spoke on the Senate floor on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Feinstein was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are her words:

“I rise today in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was a role model to many and a champion for all and I was one of those.

Justice Ginsburg was, simply put, a phenomenal lawyer and jurist. She was small and she was mighty. As a civil rights lawyer, she won key cases that established women’s constitutional right to equal treatment – and confirmed the principle of equal rights for all. And as a jurist, she further cemented these key principles into law. She brought them up and ensured they’d exist forever.

As a person she brought smiles to our faces, and now really does bring tears. Though small in stature, Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a formidable advocate, strategist, and champion. She will continue to serve as a role model to generations of women, both young and old, for whom she paved the way and I am one of those.

We are in her debt today, and generations to come will be in her debt as well.

Justice Ginsburg is also important to me, personally. Her confirmation hearing was the first I participated in as a newly elected Senator, and as the first woman to sit on the Judiciary Committee in 1993. That was a long time ago.

As I said before the committee in 1993, it was not until I began preparing for Justice Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing that I learned how she had built the foundation for women’s rights.

Simply, put it was this:

Before becoming a judge on the D.C. Circuit, Justice Ginsburg was the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, where she won five cases before the Supreme Court. Amazing, five cases, before people believed women had these rights.

In one of these cases, Craig v. Boren, the Supreme Court held for the first time that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to a woman. Can you believe it? Actually applied to a woman. This is a very big addition because this really cancelled out inequality.

In other words, it is because of Justice Ginsburg’s advocacy as lawyer that the government cannot discriminate against women on the basis of sex. So, for the female side of this room, this was really a major person whose works enabled us to run for this esteemed body and be part of it.

It’s no surprise then that Justice Ginsburg remained a fierce defender of women from the bench.

She consistently reaffirmed a woman’s right to choose and upheld Roe v. Wade against dozens of attacks.

She invalidated the men’s-only [admission] policy at the Virginia Military Institute. Explaining this decision at a visit to V.M.I, Justice Ginsburg told cadets that she knew it “would make V.M.I. a better place.”

And, in 2007, she vehemently dissented in a case where the court’s majority held that a woman, namely one Lily Ledbetter with whom we have become familiar, was time-barred from suing her employer for discrimination when she finally learned that her male colleagues had been paid more than her for several years.
Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in this case became the basis for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which we passed in 2009, making it possible to bring lawsuits when gender-based pay discrimination is actually uncovered.

As a testament to the legal giant that she was, Justice Ginsburg’s accomplishments on behalf of women are just one part of her legacy — and that legacy I strongly believe will be honored for years to come.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.