TLAW Mourns the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

We are sharing NAWL - National Association of Women Lawyers 

Tribute to Justice Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived the mission of the National Association of Women Lawyers: the advancement of women in the legal profession and advocacy for the equality of women under the law.  She was one of us, and she was an inspiration to us.  In that spirit, in 2002, we honored Justice Ginsburg with NAWL’s highest honor, the Arabella Babb Mansfield award.  In 2019, NAWL celebrated the work of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, which Justice Ginsburg co-founded in 1972, granting the Mansfield award to an organization for the first time.

Ginsburg became a lawyer at a time when the legal profession was not welcoming to women.  She began her legal education at Harvard Law School in 1956, where she learned to navigate life as one of only nine women students in a class of more than 500, the only mother in the group.  She and her women counterparts were famously asked by Dean Griswold to explain why each had enrolled at the law school, taking the place of a man.  Undeterred by the male-dominated, hostile environment, she excelled academically and became the first woman member of the Harvard Law Review. 

Ginsburg’s husband of 56 years and partner in life, Martin Ginsburg, supported her as an equal in intellect, and ambition.  He was an ally, long before we had a term for it, who led by example.  After Marty was treated for testicular cancer during his third year at Harvard Law School, Justice Ginsburg requested to spend her third year of law school in New York, in order to relocate with her family.  When Harvard denied her request, she transferred to Columbia Law School, and graduated first in her class in 1959 as a member of the Columbia Law Review.

After struggling to secure legal employment as a woman, a Jew, and a mother, Justice Ginsburg clerked for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri.  She went on to teach at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia Law School, at the latter becoming the school's first woman tenured professor.  In 1972, she co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project (“WRP”).  During the 1970s, as the WRP’s first Director, she argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court, helping establish the legal groundwork for prohibitions against sex discrimination. 

Notably, in Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971), the Supreme Court extended the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to women.  Ginsburg also supported the challenge to an Oklahoma statute that set different minimum drinking ages for men and women in Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), filing an amicus brief and sitting at counsel table in this landmark litigation that established an “intermediate scrutiny” standard for gender discrimination.  Recognizing that gender equality is in all of our interests, in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975), she represented a widower denied survivor benefits under Social Security, which permitted widows but not widowers to collect special benefits while caring for minor children - and won.

In 1978, her last case as an attorney before the Supreme Court was Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357 (1979), which challenged the validity of voluntary jury duty for women, on the ground that participation in jury duty was a citizen's vital governmental service and therefore should not be optional for women. At the end of Ginsburg's oral argument, then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist asked Ginsburg, "You won't settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?"

Justice Ginsburg was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in 1980.  In 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton.  Confirmed by the Senate in a 96-3 vote, she became the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.  In 1996, writing for a 7-1 court, Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), which struck down the Virginia Military Institute’s all-male admissions policy and opened the institution to women.  Holding that Virginia violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause because it failed to show "exceedingly persuasive justification" for VMI's gender-biased admissions policy, Ginsburg wrote "generalizations about 'the way women are,' estimates of what is appropriate for most women, no longer justify denying opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description."

Her colleague and friend, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, praised Ginsburg's skills as an advocate: "she became the leading (and very successful) litigator on behalf of women's rights—the Thurgood Marshall of that cause, so to speak." An advocate for gender equality in practice, she was a consensus builder on the Court.  Legal scholar Cass Sunstein characterized her as a “rational minimalist,” who sought to build on precedent rather than pushing the Constitution towards her own vision. 

After Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006, Justice Ginsburg remained as the only woman on the Supreme Court.  For the first time in her history on the Court, that year, she read multiple dissents from the bench – to demonstrate a more intense disagreement with the majority.  On the bench, Justice Ginsburg remained a staunch advocate for reproductive freedom and gender equality.  As the Court became increasingly hostile to women, and political machinations of anti-equality members of Congress more blatant, Justice Ginsburg resolved to remain on the Court as long as she was able.  News reports confirm that in her final days, Justice Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter (and an attorney), Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Indeed, NAWL will not settle.  Political opportunists have wasted no time attempting to justify a swift nomination and floor vote on a replacement for Justice Ginsburg before the end of 2020, an act directly contrary to their own behavior and public statements in 2016, when Justice Scalia died more than 8 months before an election.  We will not countenance a different result, especially with early voting having commenced in a number of states and less than 50 days to go before an election that will be a referendum on justice, the rule of law, and the future of our democracy. This nomination shall wait until 2021, after the people have spoken.  Let the people vote, and the people shall decide.

We grieve the loss of Justice Ginsburg, to the profession, to women, and to this country.  According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began last night, is a tzaddik - a person of great righteousness. The Hebrew root of tzaddik is "tzedek (צדק)" which means - "justice."  May her memory be a blessing, to us all.

Please see the notice cancelling Judge Wyrick’s Investiture Ceremony due to the ongoing pandemic

Marion Griffin Women's Symposium

When: Friday, September 20, 2019 8:00 AM, CDT
Where: Belmont University College of Law, Randall and Sadie Baskin Center, 1901 15th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212



Keynote Speaker 

Chief Justice Cheri L. Beasley,

North Caroline Supreme Court

Alumnus of the University of Tennessee

College of Law

Registration Levels:

$250 Patron's Circle

This level entitles you to special recognition in the MGWS program, your photo taken with Keynote Speaker Justice Cheri Beasley and an invitation to a reception honoring Chief Justice Beasley at the home of Judge Marietta Shipley the evening of September 19th.

$100 Early Bird Member Ticket ($125 September 1st)

$125 Early Bird Nonmember Ticket ($150 September 1st)

$75 Government and Special Interest Attorneys (Member and Nonmember)

$50 Law Student

CLE Program Descriptions** and Schedule of the day and Registration click here

National Women's Equality Day! 

  • September 01, 2015 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    TLAW member, Chief Justice Sharon Lee, was recently unanimously re-elected to serve a second term as Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Justice Lee is continuing in her eighth year on the Tennessee Supreme Court, and this year not only will Justice Lee serve as Chief Justice, but she will also continue rolling out the Supreme Court’s pilot project, the new Tennessee Business Court.  According to Justice Lee, the Business Court will "produce quicker resolutions with reduced litigation costs and greater predictability and consistency of decision." Read more about the Business Court here

  • August 01, 2015 5:34 PM | Anonymous

    The TBA Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”) was recently honored at the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division meeting in Chicago.  Rachel Moses, TLAW member and TBA YLD President, accepted three awards on behalf of the YLD.  The awards included a second place award in the diversity category for the Diversity Leadership Institute Job Interview Preparation Project; a second place award in the comprehensive category, which recognized the YLD’s excellent projects, including Mock Trial, CLE, Wills for Heroes, Membership, Law School Outreach, Public Service, Children’s Issues, Publications, and Diversity; and a special recognition award for the YLD’s Access to Justice Week Public Service Initiative.  TLAW member, Rachel Mancl, is the president-elect of the YLD.  Congratulations to these members for their awards in leading the YLD!

  • May 13, 2015 7:42 AM | Anonymous


    TLAW Member and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice, Holly Kirby, was recently named "Community Mother of the Year" by the Tennessee Justice Center for her dedication to her family and families across Tennessee. What an honor for Justice Kirby! 

    For the full story, clink the link below.

  • May 12, 2015 7:29 AM | Anonymous

        TLAW Past President, Wanda Sobieski, will be honored at the 2015 East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit with the Lizzie Crozier French Award in recognition of her efforts to memorialize women’s suffrage with the statue on Market Square in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Mrs. Sobieski, a longtime advocate for the advancement of women, served as TLAW’s President in 1995 and served as ETLAW’s President in 1989 and 1990.  Mrs. Sobieski has been named to the Tennessee and Knoxville Bar Foundations, won the ETLAW Spirit of Justice Award in 2008, is the coordinator of the Woman Suffrage Coalition, and is actively involved in numerous community and bar organizations. Mrs. Sobieski is President of Sobieski, Messer & Associates, PLLC.  Join us in congratulating Mrs. Sobieski on this accomplishment!

  • May 06, 2015 7:47 PM | Karol Lahrman - Executive Director of TLAW (Administrator)
    TLAW’s new year is approaching.  Are you interested in becoming more involved? Do you know someone you believe would make a good TLAW Leader? Help us continue to move TLAW and its efforts forward! 

    TLAW is seeking nominations / volunteers for the following positions: 

    President Elect  (must be from Middle TN)

    Recording Secretary (1 year term)

    Corresponding secretary (1 year term)

    Treasurer (1 year term)

    West TN Director (2 year term)

       *Board members attend monthly board meetings (most are conducted by phone).         

    *Board members are expected to miss no more than 2 board meetings per calendar year.

    Nominations may be sent to our 2015 Nominating Committee:  

    Beth Bates, Ijeoma Ike, Wendy Longmire, Rachel Mancl, Cheryl Rice

    TLAW also has the following opportunities for service coming available for which volunteers or nominations are sought:
    • TLAW representative to the Tennessee Bar Foundation IOLTA Grant Review Committee (3 year term - Middle TN representative)
    • TLAW Representative to the Bench-Bar Committee (3 year term) 
    For more information on either of these positions or to submit a nomination, contact TLAW President Cheryl Rice at

    TLAW has many committees offering opportunities for service and networking with varied levels of time commitment.  

    See our website for information on Committees.

    If you are interested in participating on a Committee for the 2015-16 year,  please contact President-elect Beth Bates at

  • May 06, 2015 4:20 PM | Anonymous

    East Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women held its annual Tennessee Supreme Court Luncheon at The Foundry today.  All five justices of the Supreme Court were in attendance, in addition to other members of the judiciary representing the appellate courts, local and surrounding trial courts, federal district court, and the federal bankruptcy court.  This year ETLAW awarded TLAW member, Mary Miller, the Spirit of Justice Award for her continued support and advancement of women in the bar, involvement in numerous organizations, and dedication to her pro bono clients, her practice, and her family. Join us in congratulating Mary Miller on receiving the Spirit of Justice Award!

  • April 30, 2015 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    The Lawyers' Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter, recently held its annual awards banquet at the Music City Center in Nashville.  LAW presented the 2015 Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey Award to past-president of TLAW and longtime TLAW member, Judge Aleta Trauger.  Appointed to a federal judgeship in 1998, Judge Trauger was the first female U.S. District judge in the Middle District of Tennessee. Join TLAW in congratulating Judge Trauger on this outstanding award!


  • April 07, 2015 2:36 PM | Anonymous

    All across the state today, women met to network over coffee and breakfast.  Approximately 35 female attorneys attended this state-wide networking event and many connections were made.  Networking events such as today’s is just one of the many benefits of TLAW membership!  TLAW looks forward to networking events in the future and connecting with more female attorneys across the state.  Thank you to Pinnacle Financial Partners and the LAW Anne Schneider Chapter for helping TLAW launch such a successful event.

    Featured below are the women who met in Jackson at the Baker’s Rack with TBA President Jonathan Steen.

  • April 01, 2015 7:23 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to TLAW members, Laura Baker and Josie Beets, for being selected by the Nashville Business Journal to be in the “40 Under  40” class of 2015.  Each year the Nashville Business Journal honors “up-and-comers in the business community,” and this year two of the select few are TLAW members!

    Laura Baker is a Shareholder with the Law Offices of John Day where she focuses her practice in personal injury, wrongful death, and tort litigation.  Josie Beets is a public policy coordinator for the Tennessee Bar Association and is the Tennessee directors of the Military Spouse JD Network, supporting the professional development of more than 1,000 military spouse attorneys. 

  • February 05, 2015 8:22 PM | Anonymous

    TLAW student member, Casey Duhart, a second-year student at the University of Tennessee College of Law, was recently elected Editor-in-Chief of the Tennessee Law Review.  Casey will lead a staff of over 40 law students for the 2015 publication year.  Join us in congratulating Casey on such an accomplishment and best wishes for a smooth editorial experience!

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