Posted May 31, 2007 02:37 pm CDT
Justices read dissents from the bench in only a handful of cases each year. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done it twice this term, reading forceful dissents in decisions on abortion and pay discrimination.
The collegial Ginsburg has gone years without delivering an oral dissent, the New York Times reports, so court watchers are taking note of her change in style. In the dissent to a decision upholding a ban on so-called partial-birth abortions, Ginsburg noted the court was “differently composed” than the one that struck down a similar law. Dissenting from a decision making it more difficult to bring equal-pay claims, Ginsburg said the majority “does not comprehend, or is indifferent to, the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.”
“She has always been regarded as sort of a white-glove person, and she’s achieved a lot that way,” longtime friend Cynthia Fuchs Epstein told the newspaper. “Now she is seeing that basic issues she’s fought so hard for are in jeopardy, and she is less bound by what have been the conventions of the court.”