Join us for a historic “meeting of the minds” with two judicial stateswomen and pioneers as they reflect on their professional journeys, the role of the Supreme Court in a democracy and challenges to the judiciary in the United States and Israel today.

 

Can't make it to the event? Leave your questions for our guests below, and they might be used on stage during the Q&A. Keep an eye on 92Y On Demand after the event for any video clips we might share! You might see your question used on stage.

 

Bios

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated by President Clinton as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in June 1993 and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, she served from 1980 to 1993 on the bench of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. From 1972 to 1980, Justice Ginsburg was a professor at Columbia University School of Law; from 1963 to 1972, she served on the law faculty of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She has served on the faculties of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies and the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, and as a visiting professor at many universities in the United States and abroad. In 1978, she was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California.

Justice Ginsburg has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School and received her LL.B. (J.D.) from Columbia Law School. She holds honorary degrees from Lund University (Sweden), American University, Vermont Law School, Georgetown University, DePaul University, Brooklyn Law School, Hebrew Union College, Rutgers University, Amherst College, Lewis and Clark College, Radcliffe College, New York University, Columbia University, Smith College, Long Island University, University of Illinois, Brandeis University, Wheaton College, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, George Washington University Law School, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Brown University, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, University of Pennsylvania, Willamette University and Princeton University.

In 1972, then-Professor Ginsburg was instrumental in launching the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Throughout the 1970s she litigated a series of cases solidifying a constitutional principle against gender-based discrimination. Her bar association activities have included service on the Board of Editors of the American Bar Association Journal, and as Secretary, Board member, and Executive Committee member of the American Bar Foundation. Justice Ginsburg served on the Council of the American Law Institute, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She has written widely in the areas of civil procedure, conflict of laws, constitutional law and comparative law.

Justice Ginsburg's late husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, was a professor of tax law at Georgetown University Law Center; her daughter, Jane C. Ginsburg, is a professor of literary and artistic property law at Columbia Law School; and her son, James S. Ginsburg, is a producer of classical recordings.

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Dorit Beinisch

Dorit Beinisch was born in Tel Aviv.

Beinisch received her LL.B and LL.M. (summa cum laude) from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1967 she was admitted to the Israeli Bar.

Justice Beinisch began her professional career in public service. She first served as Assistant to the Jerusalem District Attorney and subsequently, as Senior Assistant to the State Attorney. From 1976 to 1982, she served as Director of the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the State Attorney's Office. She represented the State before the Supreme Court of Israel in constitutional and administrative cases, in petitions against the government and the Israeli Defense Force and in basic deliberations between the individual and the state.

In 1989, Dorit Beinisch was appointed the State Attorney of the State of Israel, becoming the first woman in Israel to hold that position. In this capacity she was in charge of all state attorneys in the country, and represented the state in a variety of litigation (civil, criminal and constitutional), mainly before the Supreme Court. Serving as State Attorney, Dorit Beinisch focused on fighting corruption, dealing with issues of human rights based on both Israeli and international law, and ensuring compliance with the law by police and security forces.

In 1995 Dorit Beinisch was appointed Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. In 2006 she became the first woman named President of the Supreme Court. As a justice, Dorit Beinisch ruled in numerous cases relating to human rights, minority rights, terrorism and national security. Among her numerous court opinions is a decision holding that parents cannot use corporal punishment against their children; a decision ruling against privatization of prisons in Israel, holding that a privately managed and operated prison violates the constitutional rights to personal freedom and human dignity; and a decision finding that a portion of Israel’s Unlawful Combatants Law authorizing administration detentions violated a detainee’s rights to liberty, holding that the law should be interpreted in accordance with international law. Dorit Beinisch developed case law doctrine authorizing judges to disqualify evidence on the grounds that it was obtained illegally. And she ruled that the "Tal law"—which exempted ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service—was unconstitutional. Dorit Beinisch stressed in her decisions the importance of protection for the rights of women, children and the weak in society.

Dorit Beinisch was awarded honorary Doctor of Philosophy degrees by The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, The Ben-Gurion University, The Weizmann Institute of Science, The Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, and Honorary Fellowships by The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Academic College. Dorit Beinisch is a member as an Officer at The French "National Order of the Legion of Honour" since December 17, 2012.

Justice Beinisch was nominated in May 2013 The Chancellor of the Open University of Israel and chairwoman of its Council.

In 2012 and in 2013, Beinisch taught a seminar on "national security judging" at the Center on Law and Security at NYU, and the same seminar at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Dorit Beinisch lives in Jerusalem. She is married to attorney Yeheskell Beinisch, has two daughters and four grandchildren.

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Nina Totenberg

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition" and "Weekend Edition."

Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. Newsweek says, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg." She is also a regular panelist on "Inside Washington," a weekly syndicated public affairs television program produced in the nation's capital.

In 1991, her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage—anchored by Totenberg—of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill.

That same coverage earned Totenberg additional awards, among them: the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement.

Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award. She is also the recipient of the American Judicature Society's first-ever award honoring a career body of work in the field of journalism and the law. In 1988, Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations. The jurors of the award stated, "Ms. Totenberg broke the story of Judge (Douglas) Ginsburg's use of marijuana, raising issues of changing social values and credibility with careful perspective under deadline pressure."

Totenberg has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the "Women We Love."

A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

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Details & Ordering

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former President of the Supreme Court of Israel Dorit Beinisch in Conversation with Nina Totenberg

    Date: Sun, Oct 19, 2014, 7:30 pm

    Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd St

    Venue: Kaufmann Concert Hall

    Price: from $100.00

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