Local federal judges remember Justice Ginsburg as inspiration

Local News

One of Youngstown's three federal judges remembers sitting in on her first case in the Supreme Court where Justice Ginsburg was presiding

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Federal judges in Youngstown are remembering the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As Justice Ginsburg lies in repose inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, one of Youngstown’s three federal judges remembers sitting in on her first case in the Supreme Court where Justice Ginsberg was presiding.

A year later, in 2011, the newly appointed Judge Benita Pearson was then invited to a reception where she briefly met with Justice Ginsburg in person.

I was in awe,” Pearson said. “Justice Ginsburg had her eyes on you and your guests for the few moments you were before her, and that meat a lot.”

Pearson, like so many others, say Justice Ginsburg left a long-lasing impression.

“She taught me something that I hope I’ll never forget – it’s OK to disagree without being disagreeable,” Pearson said.

Judge Tiiara Patton was appointed to Youngstown’s Bankruptcy Court just last month and Magistrate Judge Carmen Henderson was appointed July 1. Now, all three local, federal judgeships are held by women of color.

“I think she’s an example for humans and what we can do to make the world better because she definitely did that,” Patton said.

Henderson said Ginsburg’s legacy opened doors that previously had been closed. In fact, Henderson said Ginsburg couldn’t find a job as a litigator after she graduated law school, but she moved forward, finally ending up on the Supreme Court of the United States.

“She certainly pioneered and paved the way for women judges,” Henderson said.

All three judges believe Justice Ginsburg’s perseverance, especially in areas of equal rights, should serve as an inspiration to others.

“You can dream beyond your circumstances. There is a way to achieve whatever you want to achieve, whatever dream it is,” Patton said.

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