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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to deliver Ainsworth Lecture at Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - January 10, 2002

(New Orleans)—Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg will give the 14th annual Judge Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr., Memorial Lecture on Monday, February 4, 2002 at 3 p.m. The lecture will be in the Frederick J. Gisevius, Jr., Moot Court Room 308 of the School of Law, 526 Pine St.

President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg for the Supreme Court in 1993. At the time she was a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Throughout the 1970s Ginsburg, a professor at Columbia School of Law, litigated a series of cases solidifying a constitutional principle against gender-based discrimination. She has written widely in the areas of civil procedure, conflict of laws, constitutional law and comparative law. Ginsburg earned a bachelor’s of arts from Cornell University and a LL.B (juris doctor) from Columbia Law School.

The title of Justice Ginsburg’s lecture is "Four Louisiana Giants in the Law." In her remarks, Ginsburg will refer to the late judges Judah Benjamin, Alvin B. Rubin, Skelly Wright, and John Minor Wisdom.

Benjamin entered Yale University at age 14 and studied law in New Orleans, where he was admitted to the bar in 1832. After a successful career in private practice, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1852 as a Whig candidate from Louisiana. Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Benjamin as attorney general, the highest Cabinet level held by a Jew in American government, and later secretary of war.

Rubin received his law degree from Louisiana State University in 1942. He was a U. S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1966-1977, and in 1977, he has named to the U. S. Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ginsburg is a former holder of the Judge Alvin B. Rubin Visiting Professorship of Law administered at LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

Wright was a federal judge of the U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana and the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. When a judge of the Court of Appeals, Wright ordered the public schools to desegregate on Monday, November 14, 1960. Since the Brown v. the Board decision in 1954, the Orleans Parish School Board had fought desegregation through various lawsuits and appeals. Wright received both his undergraduate and law degrees from LSU.

Wisdom, also a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is often referred to as Louisiana’s most important judge. In the 1960s, he and his fellow federal judges issued a series of rulings forcing the Deep South to abolish its segregated society. Wisdom took senior status — meaning semi-retirement — in 1977, a few months short of 20 years on the court, but he continued to hear cases as a senior judge into his 90s. Four decisions written by Wisdom in 1965-67 changed the sluggish pace of Southern school boards into a single system that as he wrote consisted of "not white or Negro schools—just schools." In 1993, Wisdom received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award.

Friends and admirers of the late Honorable Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr., have endowed this lecture series to invite distinguished speakers to appear annually at the School of Law. Ainsworth served as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The list of illustrious past speakers includes U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.