Here is something so enormously cool that I had to share it: a piece from the latest issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender called “Remarks Commemorating Celebration 55: The Women’s Leadership Summit.”
Catchy title, I know, but bear with me. Celebration 55 was an alumnae event at Harvard Law School last fall, which celebrated the 55th anniversary of the school’s first graduating class to include women. The remarks I’ve linked to include a conversation between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (’56-’58) and then-Dean Elena Kagan (’86).
It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea. At the time of the conversation, HLS had a 55-year record of graduating women. That’s not a long time. It dates back to slightly before the Mad Men era.
Flash-forward to 2008, when you have this nice conversation between two of those graduates: the women’s-rights hero turned Supreme Court Justice (and cancer survivor), and the school’s blindingly effective Dean–who was soon to be appointed Solicitor General, and is currently a leading candidate to join Justice Ginsburg on the High Court’s bench. That’s, um, a lot of ground to make up in a half century. Score one for meritocracy.
The substance of the commentary itself is great. It really gives you a sense of just how tough and determined Justice Ginsburg is. That glass ceiling never had a chance. Without giving away any spoilers, the article’s got:
- The story of Belva Ann Lockwood, the first woman to be admitted to the Bar of the SCOTUS, as well as the first woman to argue a case before the Court–and Justice Ginsburg’s memento of one of the obstacles Lockwood faced;
- Justice Ginsburg’s thoughts on her role on the Court and the proper use of foreign opinions;
- The absurd reason why she graduated with a law degree from Columbia, not Harvard. (Nice call, Dean Griswold); and
- At least one misspelling of the Justice’s name (d’oh!).
The piece seems particularly timely, given the recent speculation about Justice Stevens–and the current gender breakdown on the High Court. I obviously got a kick out of it, and I hope you enjoy it as well.