Justice Ginsburg, Praising ‘Me Too’ Movement, Shares Harassment Story [VIDEO]

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg related her experience with sexual harassment at a screening of a new biopic at the Sundance Film Festival, associating herself with the #MeToo campaign.

Ginsburg said sexual harassment was a permanent fixture of female professional life, before detailing a college professor’s lewd overtures to her when she was a student.

“Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, although we didn’t have a name for it,” Ginsburg said. She then recounted an incident from her college years at Cornell University, in which her chemistry professor offered her an advanced copy of a final exam in hopes of extracting sexual favors.

“I went to his office and I said, ‘How dare you! How dare you do this!'” she recalled. “And that was the end of that.”


As she neared law school graduation she struggled to secure a clerkship at a federal court — a coveted career springboard — because most judges did not hire women. She was offered a position after one of her professors at Columbia Law School took up her cause with Judge Edward Palmieri, promising he would never recommend another student if he didn’t hire Ginsburg.

The justice also expressed support for the deluge of sexual harassment stories attending the #MeToo campaign.

“I think it is about time,” Ginsburg said. “For so long women were silent. In thinking there was nothing you could do about it. But now the law is on the side of women or men who encounter harassment and that’s a good thing.”

The Supreme Court is on something of a recess for the coming weeks, with no scheduled business until Feb. 16. The court will begin hearing cases again on Feb. 20.

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