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Ruth Bader Ginsburg & the Future of Feminist Jurisprudence

Legacy of Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg & the Future of Feminist Jurisprudence*


Panel Discussion followed by Q&A


Monday, Oct. 5th @ 4pm on Zoom—Please register HERE

(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.)  

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“A gender line ... helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg




For more than fifty years, Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked to end sex and gender discrimination in U.S. law.  First as the founder of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project in 1972, where she successfully argued five of the six cases before the Supreme Court, and then as only the second woman serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Please join us for a panel reflecting on Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and what the future holds for feminist jurisprudence, the Supreme Court, the country, and the prospect of using the courts to secure equal rights and justice going forward, not just for women, but for all folks marginalized by law. As cases involving racial justice, voting rights, immigrant rights, healthcare access, Native American rights, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights continue to wind their way toward the Court, does a jurist like Justice Ginsburg matter?  How and why? And if not, why not?




Carrie Baker is a Professor in the Smith College Program for Study of Women and Gender, where she teaches courses on gender, law, public policy, and feminist activism, including topical courses on reproductive justice, sexual harassment and sex trafficking. She is co-founder of the Five College Certificate in Reproductive Health Rights and Justice, a frequent writer for Ms. Magazine, and the author of three books on sexual harassment and sex trafficking law.    


Traci Parker is an historian and Associate Professor in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies (UMass), where she teaches courses on African American women’s history, nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. history, race and racism, class, labor, capitalism, and consumer culture. Her current book project is titled Beyond Loving: Black Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Twentieth Century.


Kathleen A. Brown-Pérez is an attorney and a faculty member in the UMass Commonwealth Honors College, where she teaches the senior honors thesis seminar Conquest by Law: The Use of Law to Subjugate and Marginalize in the United States, Ideas that Change the World, and Criminal Law and Justice. Professor Brown-Pérez is member of the Brothertown Indian Nation (Wisconsin). Her research and publications focus on issues of federal Indian policy and law, including sovereignty, identity, and federal acknowledgment.


Laurie Frankl is a lawyer who has dedicated her legal career to gender equality issues.  She is the current Title IX Coordinator at Amherst College and former a civil rights litigator in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. Laurie has represented plaintiffs in employment and housing discrimination matters and, most recently, served in the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office where she worked to enforce the Commonwealth’s civil rights and consumer protection laws through affirmative litigation.


Jennifer L. Nye is Senior Lecturer in the UMass History Department where she teaches courses on law and social justice, including Women and the Law: History of Sex and Gender Discrimination, Rape Law: Gender, Race, (In)Justice, Social Justice Lawyering, and History of Reproductive Rights Law. She is currently co-director of the Five College Certificate in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice. She previously practiced public interest law for over a decade on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, immigrant women, and people with disabilities.



History, UMass

Afro-American Studies, UMass

Program for Study of Women & Gender, Smith College

Legal Studies, UMass

Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, UMass

History, Amherst College

Center for Justice, Law, and Societies, UMass

Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts


*Black’s Law Dictionary defines feminist jurisprudence as “a branch of jurisprudence [philosophy of law] that examines the relationship between women and law, including the history of legal and social biases against women, the elimination of those biases in modern law, and the enhancement of women’s legal rights and recognition in society.” 


Volumes have been written about Justice Ginsburg, as both a litigator and a judge. Below are a few select items that might be of interest to folks before the panel:


  • Documentary:   RBG (2018)
  • Film:  On the Basis of Sex (2018)