Friday, July 10, 2009

Interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg in NYT

"With the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor just days away, an interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in The Times’s magazine for Sunday reveals her very outspoken views on critics of the nominee and the composition of the court."  So reports the NYT own blog.

The magazine's interview, by Emily Bazelon, does make interesting reading.  Ginsburg speaks explicitly about recent cases such as Ricci and Heller as well as abortion and reproductive rights. 

On equal protection on the basis of sex, there is this fascinating colloquy, in which Ginsburg specifically identifies the gender bias of Justice Stevens:

RuthginsburgQ: You have written, “To turn in a new direction, the court first had to gain an understanding that legislation apparently designed to benefit or protect women could have the opposite effect.” The pedestal versus the cage. Has the court made that turn completely, or is there still more work to be done?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Not completely, as you can see in the case involving whether a child acquires citizenship from an unwed father. [Nguyen v. INS, in which the court in 2001 upheld, by 5 to 4, a law that set different requirements for a child to become a citizen, depending on whether his citizenship rights came from his unmarried mother or his unmarried father.] The majority thought there was something about the link between a mother and a child that doesn’t exist between the father and a child. But in fact the child in the case had been brought up by his father.

They were held back by a way of looking at the world in which a man who wasn’t married simply was not responsible. There must have been so many repetitions of Madame Butterfly in World War II. And for Justice Stevens [who voted with the majority], that was part of his experience. I think that’s going to be over in the next generation, these kinds of rulings.


Current Affairs, Equal Protection, Gender, Interpretation, News | Permalink

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