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Washington and Lee professor remembers Ginsburg visit

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 8:13 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - “She was a fighter,” said Washington & Lee University Law School Professor Johanna Bond of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bade Ginsburg. "I mean that’s one of the lasting impressions I have of her.”

Bond had met Justice Ginsburg before when working in Washington, but had a unique chance to spend some time during Ginsburg’s 2017 visit to Lexington.

“She invested in the people around her, and you hear that in the descriptions of the law clerks who worked with her," Bond said. "But I think she really invested in law students too, and viewed them as future agents of change, and I think she wanted to empower them to change the world and make it a better place.”

It was Ginsburg who wrote the decision of the Supreme Court that forced Virginia Military Institute to admit women.

“If you read the opinions," Ginsburg said during her 2017 speech, "Mine is the soul of simplicity, saying there are women who are ready, willing and able to undergo the tough training at VMI and they want that opportunity. The state of Virginia can’t deny it to them.”

But it was her first visit to the school, including a tour of the barracks.

“She stopped in the barracks room of a couple young female cadets, and talked to them about their experience at VMI," Bond remembered from the visit. "And for me, it felt like a very moving moment because I think she understood in that moment that, but for her decision, in all likelihood those women wouldn’t have been there.”

It was not her only impact on the legal, or popular, world.

“She’ll be missed,” Bond concluded.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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