Release Date May 2, 2019
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States will visit Buffalo on Aug. 26.
(Editor's note: This story was updated Aug. 21 to include additional information about the SUNY Honorary Degree presentation at UB.)
Ginsburg will be hosted by the UB School of Law, the Bar Association of Erie County, the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, and the Minority Bar Association of Western New York. She will spend part of the day speaking and teaching students at the School of Law, and will be the special guest at an evening program at Kleinhans Music Hall for members and guests of the legal community.
Ginsburg was invited to Buffalo last year by Buffalo attorney Wayne D. Wisbaum, who passed away in December. Wisbaum knew the justice during their college years at Cornell University and maintained a long-term friendship with her. Her visit to Buffalo is dedicated in his memory.
During a morning ceremony at UB's Center for the Arts, Ginsburg will receive an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Law awarded by SUNY and approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees. Presiding over the ceremony will be UB President Satish K. Tripathi, SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and Acting SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Merryl H. Tisch.
“Justice Ginsburg’s strong voice supporting gender equality, an independent judiciary, separation of church and state, and human rights deeply resonates with our mission as a law school,” said law school Dean Aviva Abramovsky, who will lead a discussion with Ginsburg at the event following the degree conferral.
“She is a powerful symbol of the most fundamental values of our nation and our legal system,” added Marianne Mariano, president of the Bar Association of Erie County. “We are thrilled and delighted to welcome her to Buffalo.”
Ginsburg grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, during the Depression. She attended James Madison High School, and studied at Cornell University, where she graduated at the top of her class. She went on to Harvard Law School and then Columbia Law School, graduating in 1959—once again, first in her class.
Even so, because she was a woman, not a single New York City law firm would give her a job. She later became the first woman to be a tenured professor at Columbia Law School.
During the 1970s, she argued a number of women’s rights cases at the Supreme Court at a time when female lawyers before the court were rare. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, she became a Supreme Court justice in 1993, the second female justice, after Sandra Day O’Connor.
She is now joined by two other New York women on the court: Sonia Sotomayor from the Bronx and Elena Kagan from Manhattan.
Additional details are not yet available. Watch for more news to be announced in the next few weeks.