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Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg to Speak at Phila. Bar Luncheon
The Philadelphia Bar Association will mark an historic day on Thursday, Oct. 23 when Chancellor Audrey C. Talley welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as guest speakers for the quarterly luncheon meeting at the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel on Market Street beginning at noon.
The rare joint appearance by the only women ever to sit on the nation's highest court will mark the 10th anniversary presentation of the Association's annual Sandra Day O'Connor Award and the presentation of the first Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award for legal writing. The O'Connor Award is given to a local woman lawyer who has best exemplified the ideals of Justice O'Connor. The new Ginsburg Award will honor the winner of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg "Pursuit of Justice" legal writing competition. Honoring excellence in legal writing and analysis, the award will be presented annually to a local second- or third-year law school student who has submitted the best law review quality paper on any topic related to rights, privileges and responsibilities under federal law.
"Ten years ago, with Justice O'Connor present, we started a great new tradition with the Sandra Day O'Connor Award. The list of women lawyers who have been recognized since 1993 is truly inspiring. So we were happy and excited about this anniversary. When we asked Justice O'Connor to join us for the anniversary program and told her about our intention to create the Ginsburg Award she was delighted and promptly accepted our invitation,'' the Chancellor explained. "Likewise, Justice Ginsburg was pleased to lend her name to this new honor and accepted our invitation to be here for the first presentation. To think that both of the justices will be joining us is more than we could have ever imagined. It's overwhelming," the Chancellor said, "and we are very gratified."
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was born Sandra Day on March 26, 1930 in El Paso, Texas. She grew up on her family's 198,000-acre cattle ranch. In 1952, she graduated from Stanford Law School and married fellow law student John O'Connor. The O'Connors settled in Phoenix, Ariz.
Justice O'Connor served as an Arizona assistant attorney general from 1965 to 1969, when she was appointed to a vacancy in the Arizona Senate. In 1974, she ran successfully for trial judge, a position she held until she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979. Eighteen months later, on July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated her to the U.S. Supreme Court. In September 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor became the Court's 102nd justice and its first female member.
With more than 20 years of service on the high court and a record for casting the pivotal "swing vote" in many close court decisions, Justice O'Connor has often been called the most powerful woman in America. Last year, along with her brother H. Alan Day, Justice O'Connor published Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, a book of recollections. Most recently she received Philadelphia's coveted Liberty Medal at the grand opening of the new National Constitution Center. Justice O'Connor has three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay.
Justice Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, N.Y. She married Martin D. Ginsburg, a professor of law at George-town University. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959 to 1961. From 1961 to 1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963 to 1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972 to 1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in California from 1977 to 1978.
In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU's general counsel from 1973 to 1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974 to 1980. She was appointed as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat on Aug. 10, 1993. Justice Ginsburg has a daughter, Jane; and a son, James.
The Sandra Day O'Connor Award is presented by the Women in the Profession Committee, which is chaired this year by Nicole D. Galli and Roberta D. Pichini. The Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award winner is determined by a committee of area attorneys, professors and judges. Diane Edelman, assistant dean for legal writing at Villanova University School of Law, and Kathleen D. Wilkinson are co-chairs of the Ginsburg competition.
A limited number of tickets to the Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon are still available at $50 for Bar Association members and $55 for the public. For more information, call the Bar Association at (215) 238-6300.