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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture Series
Date: December 1, 2020
Time: 7:30 pm

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May Her Memory Be A Revolution: The Life & Legacy of RGB

How do we remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Did her Judaism shape her understanding of law, and where was her presence felt beyond her career as a Supreme Court Justice? This three-part series, organized by the J, the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University, the Center for the Study of Women, Gender & Sexuality at Rice University, and the University of Houston Jewish Studies Program, will bring together scholars, activists, public servants, and attorneys to discuss Justice Ginsburg’s impact on American society. 

December 1: Justice Ginsburg's Formalistic and Moderate Approach to Criminal Justice

Dr. David Dow, University of Houston Law Center

In her work on gender equality, Justice Ginsburg is rightly viewed as revolutionary, even if the revolution she helped bring about was achieved incrementally. But in other domains of constitutional law, and in the realm of criminal justice issues particularly, Justice Ginsburg was far more willing to adhere to existing precedent, rather than to espouse fundamental reform. Unlike other liberal icons, Justice Ginsburg never embraced the conclusion that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment. Instead, her usual response to challenges to executions was to allow them to proceed, typically without comment. This talk will contrast Justice Ginsburg's commitment to radical reform in the area of gender equality with her much more conservative (with a small "c") orientation where the lives of prisoners were at stake.

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