My name is Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I am a current Supreme Court Justice who has been serving for the last 22 years. I was born on March 15, 1993 in Brooklyn, New York before attending Columbia Law School. My childhood was not the prettiest. I grew up within a low-income household with a poised mother who never attended college. My mother, however, taught me the value of hard work and without her I would not be where I am today.
While I graduated first in my class from Columbia, I continued to be the victim of gender discrimination in the work place for a large portion of my professional career. Because of this, I had trouble finding my first job apon graduation, until I was able to get an opportunity to serve as a clerk for U.S District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri in 1959. I would soon go on to teach at Rutgers University in 1963 before becoming the first female tenured professor at my alma matter.
I am and have always been a strong advocate for women’s rights and believing that law should always be gender-blind, meaning, everyone should experience equality.
In 1993, I was appointed to the Supreme Court by president Clinton. Since this time I have experienced first-hand the dealings of many important cases that have gone on to shape our country. The Bush vs Gore cases was exceedingly interesting to me for it finally resolved the dispute around the election of 2000. Beyond this however, I have always been a strong advocate for equality and women’s rights. I played a very prominent role in the deciding of the United States v. Virginia case that eventually allowed women to join the Virginia Military Institute. I eventually wrote the landmark decision for this case.
In the case of Risen vs. the United States, we see the idea of journalistic privilege come into play. James Risen wrote a book in 2006 as a writer for the New York Times. This book titled, “The State of War,” highlights a CIA plan to sabotage Iranian nuclear research. When the government asked Risen to reveal the source of this information, he refused. News organizations have brought forth this case to the Supreme Court on several different occasions asking us to hear it so we can better clarify the rights that reporters have in conveying our nation’s and worldwide news. After many refusals, we have decided to hear this case as it is our duty to better define the idea of journalistic privileges held under the First Amendment.
An earlier case that will likely have an impact on this case is Branzburg v. Hayes of 1972. Here, we again see the rights of reporters under the First Amendment disputed. Prior to this case, it was the only time the Supreme Court has considered the use of reporters’ privilege.
The Branzburg v. Hayes case has since outlined how courts should go about deciding future cases of this similar dynamic. The decision was based on the fact that reporters are to be subjected to the same rights as all citizens when confronted by the grand jury. Therefore, reporters or not immune to testify however, they have the right to cite the First Amendment as a shield when they are compromised.
In earlier hearings on Risen v. United States, this case was cited. Risen has refused to conform to the subpoena that asked Risen to reveal his sources from his book. According to Branzburg v. Hayes, Risen should not get special privileges as a reporter in denying this subpoena. It is to my foreseeable understanding that the case of Branzburg v. Hayes will again be cited when we see the case of Mr. Risen in front of the Supreme Court.
I have published books on foreign law so can understand this case from both a journalistic and lawyer perspective. I plan on sticking to what i know best, which is a liberal approach. I believe in a “step-by-step litigation strategy.” I consider myself a “careful, moderate judge, believing in narrow rulings and the important of stare decisis.”
I am very hesitant to except this case to trial, as it is one I have previously blown off numerous times in the past. I am under the notion that I will be able to live with the outcome as it is not one that I am over-the-top passionate about. Past cases have presented cases that fuel my fire and with those, I have done everything in my power to make the best decision be made. This particular case is not one that impacts me in a personal way, however I will do the same job I have been for the last 22 years in order to decide this case with the utmost justice and respect.
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New York City Law Review. (2004). In CELEBRATING THE JURISPRUDENCE OF JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBERG: BRUTH BADER GINSBURG: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. Retrieved from
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The Reporter’s Priveledge: A Historical Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from MLRC Institue website: http://www.gsspa.org/conferences/fall/10051964_1%20-%20Historical%20Overiview%20of%20the%20Reporter_s%20Privilege.PDF
Ruth Badar Ginsburg. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from Legal Information Institute website: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/justices/ginsburg.bio.html
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from Makers website: http://www.makers.com/ruth-bader-ginsburg