People of Praise: Former Member of Group Tied to SCOTUS Front-Runner Amy Barrett Calls It a "Cult"

As President Trump appears poised to announce a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, we speak with a former member of the secretive Catholic group People of Praise, known for its rigid gender roles and lifelong loyalty oaths, which apparent front-runner Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a member of. “Many call it a community, but I describe it as a cult,” says Coral Anika Theill, who was a member of People of Praise from 1979 to 1984 and is now speaking out against the organization.

No Más Bebés: ICE Hysterectomy Scandal Recalls 1970s LA, When a Hospital Sterilized Chicana Patients

In these times of elections, climate chaos and COVID-19, independent news is more important than ever. You turn to Democracy Now! because you trust that when we’re reporting on the pandemic or the uprisings against police brutality—or the climate crisis—our coverage is not brought to you by the fossil fuel, insurance or weapons industries or Big Pharma. We count on YOU to make our work possible. Today, a generous supporter will DOUBLE your new monthly donation to Democracy Now!, meaning your gift will go twice as far. This is a challenging time for us all, but if you’re able to make a monthly donation and provide us with support we can rely on all year, please do so today. Stay safe, and thank you so much.
-Amy Goodman

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Headlines for September 22, 2020

  • GOP, Trump Charge Forward with Effort to Replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Supreme Court
  • DOJ Designates New York City, Seattle, Portland as "Anarchist" Cities
  • CDC Again Retracts Information About Coronavirus on Website; HHS Head Azar Exerts Control Over FDA
  • 150+ Countries, Not Including the U.S., Join U.N.'s Effort to Fairly Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine
  • House Report Finds Immigrant Prisoners Denied Access to Essential Care, Forced into Labor
  • Mexican National Dies in Georgia Immigration Prison
  • One Week into Peace Talks, Scores Killed in Bloody Day of Fighting Across Afghanistan
  • 6 People Killed in Colombian Massacre as Rampant Violence Has Claimed Over 240 Lives in 2020
  • Calls Mount for Release of Sudanese Filmmaker and Activist Hajooj Kuka
  • Global Heating Sees Arctic Sea Ice Shrink to Second-Lowest Level on Record
  • Trump Admin Taps Climate Change Denier Ryan Maue for Top Position at NOAA
  • Tropical Storm Beta Makes Landfall as Record-Breaking Atlantic Storm Season Continues
  • Kumeyaay Land Defenders Arrested During Peaceful Border Wall Demonstration
  • Tohono O'odham Land Defenders in Arizona Protest Border Wall Construction on Sacred Land
  • Gov't Watchdog Probing Pentagon Use of Force and Interest in Deploying "Heat Rays" Against Protesters
  • Florida Governor DeSantis Announces Legislation to Suppress Protests
  • White Bar Owner in Omaha Who Killed Black Protester Dies by Suicide
  • Louisville Police Announce State of Emergency Ahead of Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Decision

“Belly of the Beast”: Survivors of Forced Sterilizations in California’s Prisons Fight for Justice

Revelations about forced hysterectomies at an ICE facility in Georgia have forced a reckoning with the long history of sterilizations in the U.S. — particularly of Black, Brown, poor and disabled people — and the way this procedure has continued in jails and prisons to the present day. We speak with Kelli Dillon, who was sterilized at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla in 2001 and who is featured in the documentary “Belly of the Beast,” which tells the stories of women subjected to unwanted sterilization behind bars in California. She says incarcerated women are “punished” for simply requesting medical records. “If we begin to press … we are reprimanded and sometimes put in lockdown,” says Dillon, who in 2006 became the first survivor of sterilization abuse to sue the California Department of Corrections for damages. Between 2006 and 2010, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 women without required state approval. “Forced sterilization is genocide,” notes filmmaker Erika Cohn, who directed “Belly of the Beast” and spent nearly a decade making it. The film opens in theaters on October 16 and will premiere on PBS’s “Independent Lens” on November 23.

Whistleblower Nurse in ICE Jail Alleges Forced Sterilization & Neglect Amid 8th COVID Death

AMY GOODMAN: The official death toll from COVID-19 in the United States is just hitting 200,000, though the real number is almost certainly far higher. Some public health experts say infections could spike this fall and winter and double the death count by the end of the year.

As the virus continues to spread, we look now at allegations that Immigration and Customs Enforcement helped spread the virus through medical neglect and abuse in ICE jails. On Monday, ICE confirmed the 20th person to die in its detention in fiscal year 2020, making it one of the deadliest periods in the agency’s history. Cipriano Chávez Álvarez was a 61-year-old Mexican immigrant who had been held at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, and died in a nearby hospital. His passing marks the third COVID-19 fatality at that jail and the eighth known COVID death in ICE custody. ICE says nearly 5,700 prisoners nationwide have been infected with COVID.

This comes as an explosive complaint filed on behalf of a whistleblower nurse accuses a different ICE jail in Georgia, the Irwin County Detention Center, of failing to protect both prisoners and employees from the virus. The whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, a nurse, was a nurse at the jail. She said it failed to adhere to coronavirus safety protocols. She also alleges a large number of unwanted hysterectomies had been performed on prisoners by a local doctor known as “the uterus collector.”

The complaint does not name a specific staff doctor, but lawyers for several people detained there have told Tina Vasquez at Prism and other news outlets, including The New York Times, that he’s an obstetrics and gynecology specialist named Mahendra Amin, who has an office in the city of Douglas near the ICE jail. It’s been reported that Amin and other doctors previously paid half a million dollars in a settlement of a civil federal Medicare fraud allegation.

The Intercept reported that three prisoners said Amin had performed at least 20 hysterectomies over six years. One said while Amin was excising a cyst from her ovary, he removed part of a fallopian tube without her consent. Amin told The Intercept that, quote, “Everything is wrong” about the complaint.

ICE said in a statement that only two prisoners at Irwin County had undergone hysterectomies since 2018, and has not confirmed how many other potentially sterilizing surgeries were done, such as tubal ligations.

Dawn Wooten will join us in a minute to describe what she saw. She spoke out after nine women detained in Irwin managed to film and have uploaded to YouTube in April. The women wore makeshift masks and held signs that said, “There are sick people here,” “We are not criminals,” and “Please help.” One by one, they came forward to tell their stories.

IRWIN PRISONER 1: [translated] I work in intake. I see the people who enter. I see how the guards work. All I saw is that they ask people to leave when they enter — men, women, whoever. They don’t attend to them. They don’t ask them the necessary questions to diagnose them. We are at risk. They don’t give us anything to cover ourselves so that we can protect ourselves. I was the first person that got sick. I went to the clinic, and it lasted no more than five minutes. They didn’t give me necessary resources. They simply told me, “You’re fine. Go back to your cell.”

IRWIN PRISONER 2: [translated] We need protection, please. All we want is for people to listen to their conscience, their hearts, because we are so many mothers in this place who are suffering so much, so many humiliations, for the love of God. Why can’t ICE understand? Why do we have to wait more than a year to get a court date?

AMY GOODMAN: That was April. On Monday, Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee issued a report that concluded immigrants in ICE jails systematically receive inadequate medical, dental and mental healthcare, and face solitary confinement as a punishment for speaking out. As coronavirus cases continue to surge inside ICE prisons, the report notes, quote, “The spread of COVID-19 has further highlighted how the failures to meet these standards of care are a matter of life and death.”

This comes as at least 160 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the inspector general demanding an investigation into the reports a doctor in Georgia was performing hysterectomies on immigrant women at Irwin without their consent. This is Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey speaking Monday about whistleblower Dawn Wooten’s allegations.

REP. BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN: My heart has been broken by some of the things that I’ve read over the last couple of weeks. I’m definitely very concerned about what we heard from the whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, about the barbaric treatment of detainees at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. And if these allegations are true, this is really probably one of the most inhumane things I have heard coming out of an administration that I think has very little low — bottom to its low.

AMY GOODMAN: All of this comes as ICE has now temporarily halted the deportation of Pauline Binam, a Cameroonian mother who says she was involuntarily sterilized while detained in Georgia. Binam was already on the plane Wednesday when her deportation was stopped. She has lived in the United States since the age of 2.

For more, we’re joined from Atlanta by Dawn Wooten, the licensed practical nurse who filed this widely discussed whistleblower complaint to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General about abuses at the privately run Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. Also with us in Atlanta, Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director at Project South, which helped file the complaint.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Dawn Wooten, let’s begin with you on this issue of forced sterilization, of hysterectomies, that is included in this complaint. Can you explain what the women mean when they talk about a “uterus collector”?

DAWN WOOTEN: I’ve had several women to come to me over the course of time. And in my last attendance there at Irwin County Detention Center, I had a couple of women to come to me and say, you know, “Every time we go out, or every time we go to this place, in talking with other detained women there, that they had this in common.” They would talk about him being “the uterus collector.”

And in hearing it, you know, you don’t know what to say or how to respond. But that was the term that they had given at the time, was that he’s “the uterus collector.” Her actual question was, “What does he do? What does he go around — collecting everybody’s uterus?” You know, it’s jaw-dropping. There’s really not a response to give them for that terminology, but that’s the terminology that was given to me.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Dawn Wooten, how many of these women were you able to talk to directly? And were some of them giving you secondhand information that they had heard from other women in the center?

DAWN WOOTEN: Yes. They become family. Whenever they cohabitate together, they build what they call families inside of the dormitories. And they share experiences, and they share life stories there. And they become really close. So, in coming into, in hearing, you know, they had devised that term, “the uterus collector.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You’ve also raised, in your complaint, the situation in terms of the treatment of detainees, in general, about — in reference to COVID. Could you talk about the direct experiences that you had with how the facility was dealing with COVID patients?

DAWN WOOTEN: Yes. In March, whenever we had first come across COVID-19, the first case that was there was not a case. You know, it was like it was invisible. It was silenced. You know, we were not to share it with other employees. We were not to share it with outside. We were not to share it amongst ourselves. There was a time to where I was told that you don’t inform the officers that this person is COVID-positive. You know, in the beginning, they didn’t take wearing masks seriously. We didn’t have proper PPE in the beginning. It was like a cover-up. It never existed. And as time progressed inside of the facility and there were more cases that systemically appeared, we were still at a place there to where you hear — it was unbelievable — “We didn’t have it. Don’t you talk about it. Don’t you discuss it. That’s not true.”

I am a mother with an underlying condition. I have underlying conditions. And once the terms came to, “Hey, there’s COVID-19 inside of this facility,” they were not reporting to the health department. They were not reporting to the CDC. So, there were cases in the beginning that were not accounted for. They were not justified. And I became in fear not just for myself, but for the lives of others that were around me, as well as my children.

We had N95s. I received one in March. I asked for one again in May, and I was told that “You’re going to have to put this in a bag. You were given one in March.” And until July the 2nd, last day at the facility, I still hadn’t received an N95, that I knew was in the building.

And I had a detainee to — someone stopped me in the hall and said, “Can you check this man’s temp?” I went to check the detainee’s temp. It was 101.8. I went, and I concurred with my supervisor. And one nurse said at the shift change it was 97.3. You know, going back to check it a second time, it’s 101.8. He had a valid temp. I was told that they wrap themselves in covering, has to depend on what time of day. “Hand him some ibuprofen.” That’s not professional nursing. That is not something that I can do. He was not tested.

You have several detainees that would come up, and they would be symptomatic. But I was told that everybody reads the news, everybody sees the news, they know how to present the symptoms coming across the news. It was inhumane. And it was not justifiably correct. I live by you treat people how you want to be treated. You don’t treat people as if they don’t exist. And they were ignored.

The sanitation, we didn’t have anything to sanitize with. There was no hand sanitizer. We were not wiping down. Six-feet distance — there was not six-feet distance. We were all a couple of nurses in a room. And not only were detainees positive, but there were also employees positive. It wasn’t taken seriously. And I feared for my life and the lives of those that are around.

AMY GOODMAN: You, yourself, Dawn Wooten, suffer from sickle cell. You voiced your complaints about the lack of protection for staff, like you, a nurse, as well as the prisoners. Can you talk about whether or not you think that was related to your demotion?

DAWN WOOTEN: I do. I have sickle cell. I had to have a minute procedure. And when I took it to my supervisor, I was told, “Even though you’re going to be COVID-tested, you can still come to work. Wear a mask.” I was symptomatic. I went to the physician earlier on in this COVID case at Irwin County Detention Center. I was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. I had fluid on my lung. I was taking inhalation or breathing treatments. I was on antibiotics. I was running a temp. I had diarrhea. I had headaches. I had chest pain. I had a cough, a raspy cough. I was told I still could present to work because my test confirmed that I was negative, but I was symptomatic.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring Azadeh Shahshahani into the conversation, because we just reported that another person has died in an ICE prison, not at Irwin, where Nurse Wooten worked, but in a separate facility. And I was wondering if you can tell us the latest news on him.

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: Sure, Amy. Thank you very much for having me.

First, I wanted to say that, as Project South, we’re part of a movement that believes that systematic and state violence is not to be tolerated in any form, so whether it’s ICE caging and harming immigrants or cops murdering Black people in the streets with impunity. And we are truly honored as Project South to be representing Ms. Wooten along with the Government Accountability Project. She’s truly a hero for telling us about this outrageous conduct on behalf of the facility.

So, you know, we don’t really know very much about the death of Cipriano Chávez Álvarez, a 61-year-old man. He was a Mexican national. As far as I know, ICE has not even issued a press statement at this point. But what we do know is that this marks the third death at the Stewart Detention Center, also a corporate-owned facility, during the pandemic. So, three men have already died of COVID-19 or complications related to COVID-19. And two of them were elderly, including Mr. Cipriano Chávez Álvarez. And the other one, Santiago Baten-Oxlaj, was a 34-year-old man who had diabetes.

So, the question is: Why would ICE continue to hold people who are elderly or have preexisting conditions in a facility that we already know is a deadly one? You know, seven people have died at the Stewart Detention Center just in the past three years, two of them by suicide after being placed in solitary for prolonged periods of time. So, you know, those of us on the ground who have called for this facility, Stewart, as well as Irwin, to be shut down for a long time, the question that we have is: What else would it take for decision makers to finally move and do something about this, before we see additional tragedies at these facilities?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Azadeh, we played at the beginning of this segment a clip of some women at the facility talking about the conditions back in April. Could you talk about the context of that and what happened to those women after this video got out?

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: Sure. So, instead of addressing their concerns and actually taking care of the people inside to make sure that this deadly disease does not spread, the facility, run by a private corporation, LaSalle, proceeded to retaliate against all the women who were involved in the making of that video in any way. So they placed them in solitary confinement for a number of days. And that led to extreme emotional and mental health damage for all of them.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And one of the most egregious points raised in the complaint of Dawn Wooten is this whole issue of whether there had been sterilizations of women occurring at Irwin without their consent. Could you talk about what your organization knows about this and how extensive it is?

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: Sure. So, yeah, thanks to Ms. Dawn Wooten and her courage in coming out about all of this, and, you know, the documentation and the complaint that we were able to release, that has really opened the door to a lot of lawyers coming forward, a lot of immigrants coming forward. You know, we are in touch with lawyers, trying to track down women all over the world who have been at this facility and have suffered some type of violation to their body. I mean, it is truly egregious that immigrant women at a truly vulnerable situation at this facility, at the mercy of ICE and the LaSalle corporation, were treated in this fashion. And so, you know, what we do know is that there were hysterectomies. There were other procedures that were done on women without their consent.

And I would like to address ICE’s response in terms of, you know, the number of hysterectomies. First of all, what they said is that they know of only two people being referred for hysterectomies. You know, part of what we’re saying is that, based on what we know about what was happening and what this doctor was doing, people may have been referred for something else, you know, a minor issue, like what happened with Pauline Binam. You know, she went in for a minor issue, and then, the next thing she knew, her fallopian tube was taken out, that that led to a sterilization. So, you know, the question is: What happened at the doctor’s office in terms of the procedures?

And secondly, you know, those of us who have been doing immigrants’ rights work for a long time know that ICE has no moral credibility whatsoever, and anything that they say should be taken with a grain of salt. And also, there are assertions about shredding of medical information at this facility, and so that also shines a doubt on what ICE is asserting here. And lastly, they are themselves saying that they haven’t been able to determine the true number of gynecological procedures that were done on women.

So, you know, that is why we issued the complaint. There is absolutely a need for an independent and thorough investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and by Congress, and we need to shut this place down.

AMY GOODMAN: So, we reported earlier Tina Vasquez at Prism and other outlets, including The New York Times, say that the doctor is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist named Mahendra Amin, who has an office in the city of Douglas near the ICE jail. It’s been reported that he and other doctors previously paid half a million dollars in a settlement of a civil federal Medicare fraud allegation years ago. What do you know about him? You have ICE Dr. Ada Rivera, the medical director of ICE Health Services Corporation, saying the reports would be investigated, but that the agency, quote, “vehemently disputes the implication that detainees are used for experimental medical procedures.” What do know about Dr. Mahendra Amin, in particular? And overall, are more doctors involved, Azadeh?

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: So, what the media has reported about Dr. Amin — and I should clarify that Project South, the Government Accountability Project and our client, Ms. Wooten, are not able to confirm the identity of the doctor. But what the media has reported about Dr. Amin is that this person was not even board-certified, which raises the question about the level of care that ICE has for the people in its custody, that they would send people, over a number of years, to a physician who was not even board-certified. And what the media has reported is that, you know, in addition to the settlement that you mentioned with the Department of Justice, Dr. Amin was also involved in a series of lawsuits. So, that all remains to be investigated. You know, we do not know for sure at this point whether there were other physicians involved, in terms of what was happening at the facility, in terms of referring people to him. You know, that all needs to be investigated. And again, that is why we filed the report.

AMY GOODMAN: Is he still operating at the jail?

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: From what we know, they have stopped referring people to Dr. Amin, but that happened very, very late in the game.

AMY GOODMAN: Dawn Wooten, I know you have to leave, and we so appreciate you taking this time. Do you fear for your own safety as you speak out? And what happens to those inside the prison, the immigrant women who speak out?

DAWN WOOTEN: Safety is an issue. Haven’t gotten any, you know, wild threats or anybody saying, you know, that, “Hey, we’re going to come after you.” But at the same time, it’s an issue, because any time that you hold morally and ethically and you do what’s right and correct, you have to realize that now I’ve become a target. The voice — and the ladies that are there at the facility, yes, I empathize with those ladies that are speaking out at the facility, because we live in the real world, and we process things in the real world differently. So, there is — as women, we’re supposed to remain silent, according to the world, and we’re not supposed to have a voice. So, in speaking out, I am concerned for them and for how they’re going to be treated and isolated.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I’d also like to ask Azadeh Shahshahani — a lot of people don’t realize still, unfortunately, that the people held in detention, in ICE detention, that this is — are largely there on civil issues and are awaiting hearings in their cases. They are not criminals, yet they are treated, in large part, by the government’s detention centers as criminals.

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: Juan, you know, I should say that, obviously, regardless of what offense a person may have been accused of, or not, in this really corrupt criminal legal process, obviously, everybody is entitled to human rights, fundamental human rights, and we should be fighting for everybody’s human dignity the same.

It is true that these facilities are civil detention centers, and the people held in these facilities, many of them, are awaiting deportation proceedings, or they may be asylum seekers. You know, they may be afraid of torture in their home countries, and that is why they fled to the U.S., to try to find refuge in this country. And instead, you know, the U.S. government places them in these horrid places where they are denied basic human rights in terms of medical care, clean water, good food, edible food. And when they complain, the U.S. government and the private prison corporations retaliate against them by, you know, using tear gas in some cases, placing them in solitary confinement and trying to basically shut down their voices.

AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of now the House calling for an investigation into all of this? I mean, you had Houston Congressmember Sheila Jackson Lee, you have Pramila Jayapal — before she was a congressmember, major immigrant rights activist in Seattle — leading this charge and getting 160 congressmembers to sign on, which led to Pauline Binam being taken off the plane as it was about to take off in Chicago. What do you want to see come out of this investigation?

AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI: Yeah, that is huge. You know, especially, again, those of us on the ground have been calling for a number of years on Congress to act, and they did not, even after people started dying at Stewart. They didn’t do anything significant. And then, as a result of the national outrage last week, we are glad that finally Congress is paying attention. We have been contacted by multiple congressional staffers about the complaint. And so, you know, we do hope that there is continued pressure on the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General to ensure that they conduct a thorough and independent investigation into violations at the facility.

And, you know, there’s been a lot of attention on the evils that the doctor did, but the problem goes beyond this one doctor. These were people in the custody of the U.S. government. You know, at the end of the day, the buck stops with ICE and with the U.S. government. And so they need to be held accountable, as well as the private prison corporation. And what we are demanding is that the facility be shut down.

AMY GOODMAN: Azadeh Shahshahani, I want to thank you so much for being with us, legal and advocacy director at Project South. And, Dawn Wooten, thanks so much for joining us, licensed practical nurse who filed a whistleblower complaint about the abuses at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. We will continue to cover this issue.

When we come back, we’ll look at Belly of the Beast, a new documentary on California’s dark history of forced sterilizations inside women’s prisons. Stay with us.

Headlines for September 21, 2020

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87, Sparking a Deluge of Tributes and a Fierce Succession Battle
  • U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Poised to Top 200,000
  • U.N. Says 150 Million More Children May Face Poverty as Global Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 1 Million
  • California Grapples with Evacuations, Toxic Air as Record-Breaking Wildfires Continue to Blaze
  • Trump Announces $13 Billion for Puerto Rico, as Elections Near and 3 Years After Hurricane Maria
  • Leaked Docs Show Major Banks Helped Criminals Launder Billions of Dollars
  • International Community Counters Trump over U.N. Iran Sanctions
  • Peru's President Survives Impeachment Attempt
  • Belarus Protests Continue Amid Mass Arrests, Leak of Police Officer Data
  • Thai Youth Call for General Strike as They Ramp Up Anti-Gov't, Anti-Monarchy Protest
  • Cameroonian ICE Prisoner Who Was Subjected to Forced Sterilization Granted Humanitarian Release
  • NYPD Arrests 86 Anti-ICE Protesters in Times Square
  • Climate Activists Unveil Climate Clock in NYC Ahead of Global Climate Strike
  • TikTok Ban Averted After Oracle-Walmart Deal Approved; Judge Blocks Trump WeChat Ban
  • Stephen Cohen, Noted Author and Historian of Russia, Dies at 81

“RBG”: Film Director Reflects on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Lifelong Fight for Gender Equity

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue to look at the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, by the end of her life, was internationally known simply by her initials — RBG — or, as one best-selling biography put it, “The Notorious RBG.” And a 2018 documentary film about her legal career, personal history and unexpected celebrity premiered at Sundance and became a surprise smash hit. It’s called RBG. This is the film’s trailer.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

ANNOUNCER: We welcome today Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

NINA TOTENBERG: She’s become such an icon.

FAN: Would you mind signing this copy?

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: I am 84 years old, and everyone wants to take a picture with me.

UNIDENTIFIED: Notorious RBG.

UNIDENTIFIED: Yeah, yeah.

GLORIA STEINEM: When you come right down to it, the closest thing to a superhero I know.

NINA TOTENBERG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the way the world is for American women.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: I became a lawyer when women were not wanted by the legal profession.

NINA TOTENBERG: Thousands of state and federal laws discriminated on the basis of gender. She was following in the footsteps of the battle for racial equality. She wanted equal protection for women.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Men and women are persons of equal dignity, and they should count equally before the law.

NINA TOTENBERG: She captured for the male members of the court what it was like to be a second-class citizen.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: The point is that the discriminatory line almost inevitably hurts women.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: I did see myself as kind of a kindergarten teacher in those days, because the judges didn’t think sex discrimination existed.

JUDGE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: I have had the great good fortune to share life with a partner, truly extraordinary for his generation.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: He was the first boy I ever knew who cared that I had a brain.

ARTHUR R. MILLER: She is a center of power, on and off the court.

IRIN CARMON: Every time Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissent, the internet would explode.

AMINATOU SOW: I came up with a couple slogans. “You can’t spell truth without Ruth.”

JUDGE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: I surely would not be in this room today without the determined efforts of men and women who kept dreams alive.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s the trailer for the Oscar-nominated documentary RBG. In this clip from the film, Justice Ginsburg talks about the first time she argued before the Supreme Court, in the case Frontiero v. Richardson in 1972, centering on a female Air Force lieutenant who had been denied the same housing and medical benefits as her male colleagues. Ginsburg argued the Air Force’s statute for housing allowances treated women as inferior, and the Supreme Court ruled in her favor 8 to 1.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: There was not a single question. I just went on speaking. And I, at the time, wondered, “Are they just indulging me and not listening, or am I telling them something they haven’t heard before, and are they paying attention?”

BRENDA FEIGEN: The justices were just glued to her. I don’t think they were expecting to have to deal with something as powerful as a shear force of her argument, that was just all-encompassing. And they were there to talk about a little statute in the government code. I mean, it was just — we seized the moment to change American society.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: In asking the court to declare sex a suspect criterion, we urge a position forcibly stated in 1837 by Sarah Grimké, noted abolitionist and advocate of equal rights for men and women. She said, “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

AMY GOODMAN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And we’re joined by Julie Cohen, who, along with Betsy West, is director and producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary RBG.

Julie, welcome back to Democracy Now! We had you on when the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. We had you on through the health challenges that Justice Ginsburg has faced, and now, sadly, today, in the aftermath of her death. Can you talk about what we don’t know about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, how she was shaped, her early years and those cases she argued before the Supreme Court?

JULIE COHEN: Sure. I need to gather myself a bit, because, actually, listening to that, those clips of Justice Ginsburg, feel a bit emotional in this context. I haven’t been able to watch the film again since hearing of her death on Friday evening. And just listening to that quiet but centered and super-determined voice is — I found it moving in life, and now that she’s passed away, is moving, as well.

Justice Ginsburg was shaped hugely, like many of us are, by her mother. You know, both her parents were from immigrant families, both from extremely modest backgrounds. And RBG’s mom — at the time she was Ruth Bader, obviously — got cancer when Ruth Bader was in high school, and was quite ill for a period of time. And RBG was so close to her mother and so saddened by her mom’s impending death. But her mother really used the opportunity to impart a lot of life lessons to a young Ruth Bader, to really instill in her a deep, deep ambition, a desire to put her all into education. You know, her mom told her, like, “Go find love. For sure, that’s important. But, like, don’t rely — you need to be independent. Like, don’t rely on a man to bring you what you need in your life. You actually need to make sure you can fend for yourself.” And she also had sort of some life philosophies, which were, you know, basically, “Don’t waste your time on useless emotions — anger, envy, like, guilt. You know, forget those things.” And RBG really took that advice to heart. I’m not saying she never got angry. Surely she did. Everyone does. But her inclination, based on what her mom said, was always to moderate that anger and really to try not to show it, to look for peace and conciliation and stability wherever she could find it.

You know, we spoke to her — in our documentary, we had a number of clips of her arguing those early cases for gender equality before the Supreme Court in the 1970s. She’s arguing at this point before this group of nine male justices, who — you have to put yourself in the context of back at that time. Like, women’s rights, when it first came out, people really didn’t get it. Like, “I don’t understand. What are women complaining about? We open the door for them. We treat them very politely. We give them rings when we propose to them. Like, we just don’t — we just don’t see why a woman would be complaining about her treatment in any way.” And they often not only were obtuse about her arguments, but were also quite condescending to her while she was — you know, here she is, an esteemed lawyer, arguing cases before the highest court in the land, and they’re kind of like making fun of her at times. And she just took it, you know, like water off a duck’s back. She never let that condescension get her down.

She told us that she liked to think of herself as a kindergarten teacher — you know, not just a teacher, but a kindergarten teacher. And that’s how she — she looked at these Supreme Court justices as kindergarten students who just needed to be schooled. And she did indeed school them and, I think, moved on, later in her career and as she’s become this public figure of “The Notorious RBG,” to kind of schooling a lot of us, not only about legal and constitutional principles, but about how to handle the tricky emotional challenges that come up for all of us, particularly people that are fighting for their rights.

AMY GOODMAN: And the case United States v. Virginia, the cases also where — and we’re going to talk about this in a minute — where she used a man to demonstrate what inequality was all about?

JULIE COHEN: Yeah, I mean, such a clever — you know, she was a deeply strategic person. She was not choosing what cases to pursue just on a whim or, like, that sounds like a good, cool case. She was thinking, like, “How might I win?”

And, by the way, she was very consciously modeling her strategy after one that had happened 10 or 15 years before she was arguing her cases, with the string of Supreme Court cases argued by a young Thurgood Marshall, before he was a justice, when he was a young lawyer taking cases for racial equality. Thurgood Marshall, I believe, argued more than 30 cases before the Supreme Court, had an extraordinary win record. And the reason that he achieved so much for racially equality and for forwarding the idea of racial equality under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, particularly, was by being strategic. He did not take every case. He looked at cases that he thought were winnable and, like, incremental, like one little step at a time. Justice Ginsburg was a student of what Supreme Court jurisprudence — she was aware of what Thurgood Marshall had achieved. And when she started to look into gender equality cases, she wanted to be like Thurgood Marshall in terms of picking cases very strategically.

And it occurred to her that there were a number of ways having to do — I mean, Stephen Wiesenfeld is going to tell you about his own case having to do with the death benefits that a man gets as a widower versus what a woman would get as a widow — that there were instances where — like, you know, say, a man having leave for child care, that kind of thing, that there were instances where men also were victimized by gender discrimination. And her view was like, people should be taken on their own terms. Like, let’s view people as individuals, not as representatives of their gender. And she thought that was going to be a point that would — that might be able to sink in to some of these male justices, who just hadn’t thought through the idea about women’s rights at all.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, 30 seconds, Julie, on your thoughts on her passing and what happens next?

JULIE COHEN: I am incredibly sad about her passing. I would hope, as I know Justice Ginsburg hoped, that some of these fiery dissents that she’s been writing, particularly over the past 10 years, would ultimately become the basis of later Supreme Court majority opinions, where her thoughts and her legal ideas become the law of the land.

AMY GOODMAN: Julie Cohen, thanks so much for being with us, co-directed and produced the Academy Award-nominated film RBG.

When we come back, we hear from the man Ginsburg once called her favorite plaintiff. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: “The Daughter of the Regiment,” performed by Luciano Pavarotti. Ruth Bader Ginsburg loved opera, reportedly spent her final weeks, right up until her death, visiting with family, exercising, working and listening to opera. And she also performed in one.

Remembering RBG: Legal Giant’s Death Sparks Furious Fight in D.C. over Vacant Supreme Court Seat

AMY GOODMAN: We spend the hour looking at the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the future of the Supreme Court. Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87 after serving 27 years as a Supreme Court justice, becoming the most prominent member of the court’s liberal wing.

Ginsburg first gained fame in the 1970s, when she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court, winning five. She once famously quoted the abolitionist Sarah Grimké during one of her oral arguments.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: In asking the court to declare sex a suspect criterion, we urge a position forcibly stated in 1837 by Sarah Grimké, noted abolitionist and advocate of equal rights for men and women. She said, “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

AMY GOODMAN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a federal appellate judge in 1980, then, in 1993, was sworn in as just the second female Supreme Court justice. During her Senate confirmation hearing, she openly defended the right to have an abortion.

JUDGE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: This is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It’s a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she’s being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.

AMY GOODMAN: The Senate confirmed Ginsburg 96 to 3.

As a Supreme Court justice, she was a strong supporter of reproductive rights, women’s rights, expanding LGBTQ rights and preserving President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Some of Ginsburg’s most memorable opinions were dissents. In 2013, she dissented when the court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act. She wrote, quote, “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” unquote.

While Ginsburg was known to be a leader on the court’s liberal wing, she sometimes sided with her conservative colleagues. She joined the conservative majority approving a natural gas pipeline being built under the Appalachian Trail. She also approved the Trump administration’s policy of expediting deportation of people seeking asylum.

Ginsburg’s death has set off a battle in Washington. She died on September 18, just 46 days before the November election. In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died nearly nine months before the election. At the time, McConnell said, quote, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.” But now McConnell has vowed to hold a vote on Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg, setting off a battle in the Senate, where the Republicans maintain a 53-to-47 advantage. The Democrats need 51 votes to block a potential nominee. Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have already said they oppose voting on Ginsburg’s replacement before the election.

President Trump is expected to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg as soon as Tuesday. Top contenders include federal judges Barbara Lagoa and Amy Coney Barrett. If the Senate confirms Trump’s nominee, it will give conservatives a 6-to-3 advantage on the court. It would also mean the majority of the justices on the court were selected by presidents that did not win the popular vote.

Days before she died, Justice Ginsburg [dictated] a final statement to her granddaughter. It read, quote, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” unquote.

Over the weekend, vigils were held outside the Supreme Court and across the country to remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Later in the program, we’ll be joined by a man Ginsburg once called her favorite plaintiff, and we’ll be joined by Julie Cohen, co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary RBG. But we begin today’s show with Dahlia Lithwick. She’s senior legal correspondent at Slate.com, her latest piece headlined “What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Would Want America to Do Now.”

Well, Dahlia, welcome to Democracy Now! Thanks so much for joining us. I know this is a deeply painful day to you both personally and politically. Talk about how you came to know Justice Ginsburg, what she meant to you, and then what you think about what’s happening today.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Thanks, Amy. And thanks for having me.

I got to know her, actually, latish in my career. I had been covering the court for some time, and Justice Ginsburg gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal‘s Jess Bravin, and he asked her who she read. And she named a couple people, and then she said, “Oh, I read that girl at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick.” And then she called me “spicy.” And I think she liked the fact that I was irreverent. And shortly after that, I got to interview her for the first time when Glamour named her their woman of the year, and she gave me an amazing interview. And then, just most recently, I got to sit down with her actually in late January, right before the court shut down for COVID. I got to spend an hour with her just talking about her experience being one of nine women who started at Harvard Law school in a class of 500 men. And so, I’ve just been incredibly blessed in my connections to her.

And, you know, as to what she meant to me, I mean, I started law school just as she was being elevated to the bench. And I think I can say, with great confidence, that had I not seen Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, I would not, probably, have felt that there was a place for me at law school. I know thousands and thousands of women feel the same. And then, simply as a marker of what a woman can do, who at every turn is faced with closed doors, lost opportunities, unbelievable discrimination, and how at every turn she took that, turned it around and turned it into another success. I just think the arc of her life, Amy, has been to fight for the women who came after and to bear the responsibility of the women who came before who couldn’t finish the fight.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about what you feel are her most important contributions.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Well, I think you’ve identified — I think she sort of has three acts in America. The first is her unbelievable litigation career. At the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, she almost single-handedly became the architect of a series of what looked to be small, incremental cases that fought consistently to do away with gender discrimination as built in the law. And, of course, the genius of those cases — I know you’re going to talk about this later — is that she would bring them on behalf of men, not women, but men who were subject to discriminatory laws because the law assumed that men went out to work and women stayed home as caregivers. And she built, slowly, the same way Thurgood Marshall built in the world of race equality, one case after another after another that dismantled that patriarchal view of the world. And so, there’s that piece of it, which is the legal career that ends up really enforcing the idea of equality under the Constitution.

Then there’s her time on the court and the enormous series of cases she both authored and later dissented in, where she put that into effect, most famously when the Virginia Military Institute — she forced them to accept women cadets, writing that it is discriminatory to assume that women cadets can’t go to that school — changed the landscape forever.

And then, I think, this third act, which we really only saw in the last decade, where she became this tiny, five-foot, less-than-a-hundred-pound rockstar, when she became “Notorious RBG,” and everyone had a tote bag, and everybody had the earrings, and everybody knew her dissents by heart. She became larger than life, certainly larger than one associate justice on the court. And I think she just became a symbol, particularly in the last four years, for women who felt powerless and hopeless, that you don’t get to feel powerless and hopeless. You just keep fighting.

AMY GOODMAN: And how she became “The Notorious RBG”?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: It came from, you know, toward the end of her career. She was writing — I think you noted this, Amy — many more dissents than she was writing majority opinions. And her dissent in the Shelby County case, the one that gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act, that line about doing away with preclearance is like chucking your umbrella because it worked, that got set to music. And a whole bunch of young women really, I think, constructed this idea that she was in fact not all that different from a rapper, and that she was this icon and that her words needed to be disseminated beyond the four corners of opinions out into the world. At that point, her Hobby Lobby dissent then was also set to music.

Time and time and time again, things that she did that might have been ignored by mass culture got pushed out under the guise of this is this tiny little woman with the tilted crown. She is changing the world, not within the auspices of the court — she’s writing dissent — but the words that she is giving, particularly to young people and particularly to young women, the language of dissent, the language of using the law and your words to effect change. It just became a phenomenon, the likes of which I’ve never seen on the court.

AMY GOODMAN: But, Dahlia Lithwick, she certainly wasn’t the most progressive member — probably Sonia Sotomayor is. And in the last years, she sided with the conservative majority when it came to building a natural gas pipeline, when it came to approving the Trump administration’s policy of expediting deportation of people seeking asylum, even, well, ultimately apologized for calling Colin Kaepernick’s move to take a knee “dumb.”

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think that the ways that we misapprehend Ruth Bader Ginsburg are really at the core of what you just said, which is I really truly believe that she was the most small-C conservative radical on the court, and that if you thought she was out on the hustings burning her bra, breaking things down, taking things apart, then you kind of missed the real story, because she was fundamentally a creature of the 1950s and ’60s. She was very, very much not a ’70s radical, certainly not a pink pussy hat radical.

She was someone who, when she was on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the lower federal court, aligned her votes with Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia, more than anyone else. She was fundamentally a moderate centrist, often conservative, jurist. She was very, very, very much given a knock for not hiring nearly enough minority clerks. All of that is part of the picture.

AMY GOODMAN: Had one African American clerk as a Supreme Court justice.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: And I think we have to be very, very honest about the fact that she was both the architect of the gender equality world we live in now and also that she was very, very effective in part because she was a get-along person. She was very much conciliatory, always cared about decorum, meeting people where they were. She was both those things, Amy, and I think, in some ways, we have to respect both parts of it.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Donald Trump now at the North Carolina rally he held on Saturday, where he said he plans to nominate a woman to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and seemed to imply he had until Inauguration Day 2021.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Both the White House and the Senate majority have a moral duty to fulfill the promises they made to the voters. And that is exactly what we’re going to do. We said that if, for any reason, we have a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, we will fill that vacancy. We’re not going to say — and, by the way, we have plenty of time. There’s a lot of time. You know, you’re talking about — you’re talking about January 20th, right?

TRUMP SUPPORTERS: Fill her seat! Fill her seat! Fill her seat! Fill her seat!

AMY GOODMAN: So, you can hear the people chanting “Fill her seat! Fill her seat!” Trump now nominating a third justice to a lifetime apartment on the Supreme Court. If you could talk about what he said he’s going to do, who some of the top candidates are to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s place?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think the single most important thing to do is not waste a lot of our brain cells trying to reconcile the message that he and Mitch McConnell are putting out now with the message that Mitch McConnell put out in 2016, where, with nine months left to go, they said, “It’s too — way, way, way too late for a president to nominate someone. We’re going to let the voters decide.” I think we can agree hypocrisy doesn’t begin to touch on that.

And so, then the question is: Can he rush someone through? I should just note for your audience that the polling I saw, effective yesterday, said 63% of the country, including 50% of Republicans, don’t think somebody should be jammed onto the court just in order to fill the seat. But I guess he’s going to press through.

The folks who are on the shortlist, he has said he wants to nominate a woman, so it’s largely women. Probably the front-runner is Amy Coney Barrett. He said, when he had her on the shortlist for what ultimately became the Kavanaugh seat, that he was saving her for when he could fill the Ginsburg seat. So I think she’s probably the top contender, and she’s also been fully vetted. She’s only 48 years old. She sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. And I think all of the nominees that he’s looking at are people in their late forties, early fifties, with very, very, very compressed judicial records. She’s only been on the bench for a couple of years. But I think it’s fair to say that on case after case after case, including abortion, including age discrimination, asylum seekers and guns, she has been on the hard, hard-right side of the fence, often in fact getting disdainful statements from Reagan and Bush appointees about how radical her worldview is. The other thing about her is she very, very much has written about how religion informs her judicial thinking. And when that was raised at her lower court hearings, it was seen as a huge, huge affront. So, she brings to the table the ability to be deeply religious, and it’s impolitic, apparently, to question her about it.

Barbara Lagoa is now on the shortlist. She’s only 52. She’s on the 11th Circuit. She’s one of the judges who just ruled that all of those taxes and fees that felons need to pay prior to voting is not a poll tax and that that can be enforced, which would disenfranchise thousands and thousands of formerly reenfranchised felons in Florida.

Joan Larsen is probably the third person on the shortlist. Only —

AMY GOODMAN: And just to say, on the issue of Lagoa, she is Cuban American. She is from the swing state of Florida. A Latinx swing state person on the Supreme Court would serve President Trump, in his eyes.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Would serve him well in Florida. And also she’s a DeSantis acolyte, so I think that that shores up Florida.

Joan Larsen is the last person, 51 years old, on the 6th Circuit. But I think he’s — Trump is still looking at several other very, very young women. We will know, I guess, as soon as tomorrow who he settles on.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to, finally, turn to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On Sunday, she and the Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer went to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s high school, which is also Schumer’s high school, James Madison in Brooklyn, and urged supporters to call on Senate Republicans not to vote on any Supreme Court nominee.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIOCORTEZ: We must use every tool at our disposal, from everyday people, especially in swing states. We need everyday people to call on senators, to call on folks on the bubble, to call Republican senators, to make sure that they hold us vacancy open. And we must also commit to using every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s pretty rare to see her and Chuck Schumer together. They were by themselves in front of James Madison High School. But, Dahlia Lithwick, what are those things you think could be done right now for people deeply concerned about a third Trump appointment to the Supreme Court?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think they have to make noise, and I think that’s what she was saying. I think you led with this. It’s so important. It cannot be the case that Dems have won the popular vote in seven out of the eight elections from 1992 ’til now, and yet the GOP has appointed 14 out of 18, now seek 15 out of 19, Supreme Court seats. It is a majority — a minority-majority court, because minority-majority presidents and a minority-majority Senate keep ratifying it.

And I think what she’s saying is, we have to stop behaving as though the court belongs to the Republicans. They campaign on it. They vote on it. It’s a single-minded issue for them. And Democrats have tended, in the last few election cycles, to not step up, to act as though maybe we just rent seats there occasionally. The court is so profoundly misaligned both with popular opinion polling and with the will of this country. And I think the idea that you just accede to that because it’s not an issue for Democrats is what is really, really going to have to change.

And so I think she’s right. It means calling your senators. It means writing the op-eds, writing the letters and really, really signaling to the Senate that votes will move, votes will be lost, seats will be lost, if what is done in the next couple of weeks is allowed to go through.

AMY GOODMAN: And the possibility of a Biden administration increasing the number of justices on the court?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Well, you heard AOC say it. I think that none of the structural court reforms that are being floated, whether it’s term limits, whether it’s adding seats to the lower courts and the Supreme Court, whether it’s jurisdiction stripping — there are a lot of really, really thoughtful ideas circulating about how we do structural court reform to kind of reverse the minority-majority rule that has absolutely taken a hold in this country. And I think what she’s saying is, we can’t be afraid to say there will be consequences if the court is treated as though it’s Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s plaything.

AMY GOODMAN: Dahlia Lithwick, thanks so much for being with us. And condolences to you, because this is a personal loss, as well, for you, interviewing her just before the COVID lockdown. Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate.com, senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter. Her latest piece, we’ll link to, “What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Would Want America to Do Now.”

When we come back, we turn to one of the directors of the Oscar-nominated documentary RBG, Julie Cohen. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: “We Shall Be Known,” being sung at a Saturday vigil outside the Supreme Court for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"A National Tragedy": Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Friend & "Favorite Client" Remembers the Legal Icon

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg first gained fame in the 1970s when she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court. One of those cases was Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, which centered on a widower who was refused Social Security benefits after his wife died during childbirth. We speak with Stephen Wiesenfeld, who was told his gender made him ineligible and that only women were entitled to survivor’s benefits. Ginsburg argued in the Supreme Court that denying fathers benefits because of their sex was unconstitutional, and won a unanimous 8-0 decision in the case. Wiesenfeld, who would become a lifelong friend to the late Supreme Court justice, says she “took their very conservative court and taught them that the stereotypes when they hurt one gender, hurt the other gender, as well.”

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