I dissent : Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her mark by Debbie Levy.
Book review by Jacqui Smith.
I came across this delightful children’s book in my pile of cataloguing. Written in simple words by Debbie Levy and beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, it tells the story of a strong and determined woman.
It begged me to take it home and read it, so I did. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Born in 1933, she forged a path for women in a time when most stayed home and brought up children. During her long career, she has upheld the law in the face of prejudice, ignorance and injustice.
As a little girl, Ruth’s mother, Celia, introduced her to the library where, as Levy puts it, she “read her way into the world”. Ruth lapped up stories of strong, independent women and believed a girl could do anything.
In the 1950s, Ruth went to college while most girls her age were looking for husbands. Funnily enough, she did meet her future husband and then they both went along to law school. It was a partnership of equals.
Ruth was a trailblazer in law, but I won’t go into the details here (read the book!). I will share my favourite part, however.
In the U.S. Supreme Court, nine justices consider the arguments put to them by lawyers from both sides. The side who gets the most votes from the justices is the winner. When Justice Ginsburg votes with the winning side, she wears a special lace collar over her gown when the decision is announced.
If she disagrees, she writes her dissenting opinion explaining why. She has a different collar that she wears just for dissenting!
Although I had heard her name, I knew little about her before reading Levy's book and - having now whet my appetite - I am looking forward to reading further on this remarkable woman and recommend the book, not only to children, but to adults.
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