Law and Public Policy

Ginsburg and the Civility Challenge

October 18, 2017  • Aspen Wye Fellows

Getting the first job was hard for women of my vintage.

“There were nine women in a class of over 500,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said of her Harvard Law School class before an audience of 235 Wye Fellows and Society of Fellows members. The event took place under a tent overlooking the Institute’s Wye River campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “Getting the first job was hard for women of my vintage,” Ginsburg said. The longtime justice discussed critical issues of equality before the law, specifically women’s rights. She also spoke of the pressing need for civility in today’s political arena and invoked her friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whose interpretations of the law sharply contrasted with her own. Ginsburg viewed their friendship as proof that differing ideological views can be bridged through cordiality and tolerance. “There will be a day,” Ginsburg promised, “when people from both sides, Republicans and Democrats, will really care about our nation.”