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Arizona Remembers Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Posted at 10:04 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-19 01:14:52-04

As tributes pour in from around the nation following the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, some prominent Arizonans are remembering the petite powerhouse on a more personal level.

Former ASU Law School dean Paul Bender first met Ginsburg in high school.

"She finished second in the class. I was not first," he remembers with a smile.

Bender says, even as teenagers, Ginsburg's keen mind was evident. "She was beautiful and very active and involved in things, so she was really a presence in the class, especially because she was so smart."

Years later, they would meet again when he argued before the Supreme Court in United States v. Virginia.

Ginsburg is perhaps best known for writing that far-reaching decision that struck down the Virginia Military Institute's men-only admission policy in 1996.

Other attorneys who have argued before the High Court include former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

He calls Ginsburg a pioneer, "She was obviously very smart, very focused and not a showboat. She was very quiet and very small. You could barely see her over the bench."

Former US Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis Burke remembers meeting her for the first time in 1993, after she was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. He recalls how polite she was, very respectful of the process. He also remembers her sense of humor.

"She got along with members of the senate and her colleagues on the Court because she has such a wide variety of interests and she also had an ability to enjoy life and joke with anyone, regardless of what their judicial persuasion was."