A Conversation with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life is a paradigm of the American immigrant experience. In one generation, she rose from the daughter of Jewish immigrants to a seat on the Supreme Court. Born in 1933, she credits much of her early success to the influence of her mother, who gave her two pieces of advice: Always be a lady, and be independent. Justice Ginsburg tells Larry Josephson the surprising story that when she graduated at the top of her class from Columbia Law School in 1959 no one would hire her because, as she says, she was a "woman, Jewish and mother." She also recounts her experience with anti-Semitism: as a child she saw a sign on a boarding house that advised, "no dogs or Jews allowed." This conversation offers a rare personal look into the life of a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court: her struggles against gender discrimination, anti-Semitism and severe illness (her mother died of cancer, both she and her husband survived it). Justice Ginsburg, one of the Court's centrist liberals, explains her philosophy of judicial restraint. A fascinating look at a role model for women and minorities, as well as an American success story of upward mobility. Highly topical given the two recent vacancies on the Court. Justice Ginsburg is possibly a swing vote on the new Court. The special is taken from the forthcoming series, "Only in America: A Celebration of the American Jewish Experience," a year-long project to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the landing of the first Jews in New Amsterdam in September, 1654.

Guests: 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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