Ginsburg on Lockwood

At the 35th Anniversary gala for the Supreme Court Fellows Program, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered a speech on the Life and Times of Belva Lockwood.

For the 2007-2008 program year, all four of the Supreme Court fellows were women. And, recently, a woman was appointed as a Special Master in a case. Justice Ginsburg remarked, “Two clear signs of how much has changed since the time this Court was first asked to entertain a woman’s application to become a member of the Court’s Bar. I thought it fitting…to look back to that earlier time and present a cameo portrait of the brave 19th century woman who broke the Court’s barrier. Her name, Belva Ann Lockwood.”

The brief remarks toast the striking details of Lockwood’s legal career and importance.

The speech closes with a personal reflection from Justice Ginsburg. “Visitors to my chambers will see posted on a wall outside a replica of the vote sheet recording the Court’s refusal to admit Lockwood, and one of many less than flattering cartoons published during her presidential runs. She was a woman of sense and steel. Along with legions of others, I am inspired by her example, and elated by the progress of our society toward full and equal citizenship stature for men and women.”

The full remarks are printed in the Southwestern University Law Review. ["Remarks on the Life and Times of Belva Lockwood, 37 Southwestern U. L. Rev. 371 (2008). (Remarks delivered at the Supreme Court Fellows Dinner, January 24, 2008 by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States)]

Also, as noted in the remarks, the speech credits the “excellent” biography of Lockwood written by Jill Norgren. [Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President (New York University Press 2007)]

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