Amid a mounting controversy over Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, who faces numerous sexual misconduct allegations, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg applauded the #MeToo movement.
Ginsburg did not mention Kavanaugh by name, Reuters reported, but told the students that she was “cheered on” by #MeToo.
“Every woman of my vintage has not just one story but many stories, but we thought there was nothing you could do about it — boys will be boys — so just find a way to get out of it,” the 85-year-old jurist said, according to Reuters.
But now, she said, women are speaking out — together — about their experiences.
“So it was one complaint, and then one after another the complaints mounted,” she told the students. “So women nowadays are not silent about bad behavior.”
Ginsburg has previously shared her own #MeToo story, telling live audiences this year about an encounter in college.
“I was in a chemistry class at Cornell,” she said in February at the National Constitution Institute. “I was not very adept in the laboratory, so a teaching assistant decided to help me out so much that he offered to give me a practice exam the day before the actual exam. When I went into the room and looked at the exam paper, I found that it was the practice exam.
“Then I knew immediately what this instructor expected as a payoff. So, instead of being shy, I confronted him and said, ‘How dare you do this?’ That is one of many, many stories that every woman of my vintage knows.”
Her conversation with National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen, republished in the Atlantic, began with a question about #MeToo, a movement Ginsburg said she never saw coming.
“Women were hesitant,” she told Rosen. “I think one of the principal reasons for it was because they feared that they would not be believed. The number of women who have come forward as a result of the #MeToo movement has been astonishing. My hope is not just that it is here to stay, but that it is as effective for the woman who works as a maid in a hotel as it is for Hollywood stars.”
She added: “I think it will have staying power because people, and not only women, men as well as women, realize how wrong the behavior was and how it subordinated women. So we shall see, but my prediction is that it is here to stay.”