When O’Connor left in 2005, Ginsburg also lamented being the only woman on the high court In an interview with Emily Bazelon of the New York Times in 2010, Ginsburg said, “My basic concern about being all alone was the public got the wrong perception of the court. The introduction of women to the High Court not only changed the dynamics between the justices, but it also influenced life in the administrative offices. Since O’Connor came on the Court, more women have joined the Court’s administrative offices. Although opinions handed down by the Supreme Court no longer bear the stamp of “Brother,” collegiality has been maintained with terms like “colleague” and “fellow Justice.” Epstein maintains that little can be said about what would happen if the number of women on the bench were to increase. The roster is already stacked at guard, and, regardless of what he thinks, he’s not beating out the Nemanja Nedovic (guaranteed rookie contract), Toney Douglas (veteran back-up point guard) or Kent Bazemore, who pretty much locked up his roster spot in Summer League, to sit at the end of the Warriors bench this season. She was a petite, loving, joy, hilarious, caring , MOM and grandparent you would ever want to meet.
Connecticut, Justice Hugo Black began his opinion with “I agree with my Brother Stewart’s dissenting opinion.” Throughout the opinion, Black used the term “brother” over 15 times when referring to his colleagues.
When moderate Potter Stewart stepped off the Court a year later, Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, a judge who had served for less than two years on the Arizona Court of Appeals and was confirmed by the Senate by a 99-0 vote. President Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993, and the Senate confirmed her easily. It matters for women to be there at the conference table to be doing everything that the court does.” To Justice Ginsburg’s delight, Justices Sotomayor and Kagan recently joined her.
Kathy Tyce of the Clerk’s Office at the Supreme Court told the HPR that before Justice O’Connor came on the Court, very few women were a part of the administration.
Pamela Talkin, the Marshal of the United States Supreme Court, became the first woman to hold the position when she was appointed in 2001.
So Curry will likely end up toiling in obscurity in Santa Cruz, outside of the occasional call-up when the schedules line up perfectly, in which case he’ll only see scant minutes in garbage time when the fans start chanting his name. Ryan Owens, professor of government at Harvard, explained, “Reagan was concerned with fulfilling campaign promise and selecting someone who would pay attention to social issues and be a reliably conservative vote with abortion.” As O’Connor evolved into a swing vote on the Court, her male brothers were forced to follow her decisions. While O’Connor came through with unanimous confirmation and Ginsburg was close, Sotomayor and Kagan faced partisan confirmation votes of 68-31 and 63-37, respectively. When Justice O’Connor arrived, she started aerobics classes for the female clerks and women in various offices of the Court; she made them feel welcome. In cases of original jurisdiction, the Court appoints a special master to provide a preliminary ruling on the case facts.
The changes that women have made to the Supreme Court may be subtle and hard to quantify, but their presence within the Court and their ability to inspire young women around the country are surely significant.
Josh Blackman, Co-Founder of the Harlan Institute, told the HPR, “It’s rumor that when Justice O’Connor came on the Court, she didn’t like the practice.” Regardless of whether this practice is significant or not, it serves as a reminder that our Supreme Court operated for nearly 200 years without a woman on the bench.
Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and the New Yorker, wrote about Court employees confusing the women in his book The Nine. These contentious confirmation votes and the fact that female Justices are no longer being confused for one another suggest that women serving on the Court are no longer a novelty.
Females could provide a different voice or worldview, represent the interests of women on the court, have expertise or experience on an issue, or undergo the same training and job experience as men. While definitive effects of women’s presence on the high court are hard to identify because only four women have sat on its bench, the four pioneers have changed the culture of the Court and may have had some influence on legal issues important to women. Toobin shared how they would wear shirts reading “I’m Sandra, not Ruth” and “I’m Ruth, not Sandra.” Blackman noted that Ginsburg was a champion fighting for women’s rights.
Despite these perceived effects, however, they found that female judges rule like male judges, except in cases related to sex discrimination. It is hard to imagine that these historic appointments would have been made without a woman sitting on the High Court bench.
Furthermore, in cases regarding sex discrimination that come before a panel of judges, the presence of a woman judge affects the way the entire panel rules.
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