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! 

  • October 14, 2014 12:07 PM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to all of the successful candidates who passed the July 2014 Tennessee Bar Exam! You have conquered a taxing, intimidating, and nerve-racking barrier to the practice of law. Enjoy your success and breathe easier now.

    So you passed the bar exam and hopefully you have a job or will become employed soon, but now what? Passing the bar exam does not make you competent in any area of the law. It does not sound an alarm for clients to come knocking on your office door. It does not instantly help you win friends and influence people. It does not guarantee you a mentor in the area of law in which you think you may want to practice. 

    Passing the bar commences your career-long journey in learning what it means to "practice law." Passing the bar is your green light. Now it is up to you to associate with other attorneys and join meaningful organizations, which will help you along this journey and to which you can contribute your talents and skills. I challenge you to join organizations such as TLAW so that you can meet fellow members of the bar, associate with people who share similar interests, learn from attorneys who have been in your shoes (for some of us, that was not so long ago), and contribute to the bar to make it a stronger league of professionals.  TLAW, the only statewide women's bar association, joins attorneys across Tennessee from Dyersburg to Chattanooga and from Kingsport to Memphis. TLAW is your opportunity to network with fellow attorneys and develop the career that you envisioned when you applied to go to law school.

    Congratulations again! Go into the world and make a difference (legally now).

  • October 02, 2014 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    Governor Bill Haslam will conduct Judge Brandon Gibson's investiture ceremony next Thursday, October 9th.  A TLAW member, Judge Gibson will replace Judge David R. Farmer on the Court of Appeals, Western Section.  Governor Haslam appointed Judge Gibson to the Court of Appeals in December 2013.

    Judge Gibson's investiture ceremony will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the Chancery Courtroom in the Madison County Courthouse, 100 East Main Street, Jackson, Tennessee. A reception will follow.

    Make plans to attend next Thursday and show support for fellow TLAW member, Judge Brandon Gibson.

  • September 19, 2014 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    At Chief Justice Lee's investiture ceremony on September 17, 2014, she emphasized the importance of independent courts stating, "[Tennessee] courts play a fundamental role in protecting individual rights, providing predictability to business and in guaranteeing the fair functioning of our government."  Chief Justice Lee pledged her support of Amendment 2, stating that Amendment 2 "will eliminate any doubt about the constitutionality of the method of selection of our appellate judges."

    Join TLAW and Chief Justice Lee and support Amendment 2. 

    sharon lee

  • September 19, 2014 3:24 PM | Anonymous
    Today Governor Bill Haslam conducted Justice Holly Kirby's investiture ceremony at the University of Memphis School of Law, Justice Kirby's alma mater.  A TLAW member, Justice Kirby was the first female to serve on the Tennessee Court of Appeals when she was appointed in 1995.  Governor Haslam appointed Justice Kirby to the Tennessee Supreme Court in December 2013.

    Join us in congratulating Justice Kirby on her investiture

  • September 14, 2014 7:32 PM | Anonymous

    Governor Bill Haslam will conduct Chief Justice Sharon Lee's investiture this Wednesday, September 17th.  Chief Justice Lee, a TLAW member, is the third woman to hold the position of Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, following behind Justices Janice Holder and Connie Clark. 

    Chief Justice Lee's investiture ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m. in the Historic Post Office Building, Tennessee Supreme Court, 505 Main Street, Knoxville.  A reception will follow.

    Make plans to attend this Wednesday and show support to fellow TLAW member, Chief Justice Lee.

  • September 04, 2014 1:29 PM | Anonymous

    TLAW is pleased to endorse the passage of Amendment 2, an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that will strengthen the voice of Tennesseans in selecting our appellate court judges.

     We hope you will Vote YES on 2 to help ensure we get fair and impartial judges held accountable to the people of Tennessee.

     Amendment 2 keeps the best parts of our current system and adds new checks and balances by:

    • ·         Continuing to trust the Governor we elect to appoint the most qualified persons as appellate judges,
    • ·         Adding a new layer of accountability by having our elected State Senators and Representatives confirm or reject the Governor’s appointees, and
    • ·         Most importantly, protecting the right of Tennesseans to vote to keep or fire the judges at the end of their respective terms.


    Amendment 2 is strongly supported by voters and leaders in both political parties from every corner our state, including: Governor Bill Haslam, former Governor Phil Bredesen, former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, former Governor Winfield Dunn, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, Memphis Mayor A. C. Wharton, Jr., Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Hamilton Country Mayor Jim Coppinger, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, large majorities in the State House and Senate who voted to place Amendment 2 on the ballot, and many more.                  

    Top organizations from across the political spectrum have joined us in endorsing Amendment 2, including the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Tennessee Sheriffs Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Bankers Association, League of Women Voters, Fraternal Order of Police, Women’s Political Collaborative, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee Hospital Association, Beacon Center of Tennessee, TLAW and many others.

    Help us spread the word by talking to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and telling them to Vote YES on 2! Election Day is November 4, 2014, and early voting begins October 15, 2014.


    Visit today for more information or to join the campaign.

  • August 08, 2014 12:36 PM | Karol Lahrman - Executive Director of TLAW (Administrator)

    To read about our latest happenings and sharing, 

    click on our newsletter link below. 

    TLAW Summer Newsletter.pdf

  • August 03, 2014 8:04 PM | Anonymous

    Tennessee voters set a record this year for the most ballots cast in early voting in Tennessee history. Across the state, the polls for early voting closed on Saturday, August 2, and, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State's website, over 562,000 voters went to the polls early.

    The polls for state primaries and local general elections will be open this Thursday, August 7. If you haven't already cast your vote, please take the time out of your schedule on Thursday to do so. 

    For the early voter breakdown, visit the Secretary of State's website:

  • June 24, 2014 5:16 PM | Karol Lahrman - Executive Director of TLAW (Administrator)
    What a great event at the 2014 Convention and annual meeting.
    Many of you stopped by TLAW table to get information, renew your annual dues, sign up for the bountiful breakfast and support our organization, we are grateful to all of you and look forward to a successful year and growth for all. 

    From Left to Right: TBA President-elect Bill Harbison, TLAW President Cheryl Rice, Treasurer Linda Knight, Justice Cornelia Clark, Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman and Imm. Past Pres. Wendy Longmire

    Jackie Dixon and Gail Ashworth

    TLAW Joint Reception with TBA 

    TLAW reception and information table

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