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Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President

Described as "guiding the battles of the women's rights movement" by the New York Times, Marcia Greenberger is the founder and Co-President of the National Women's Law Center. The creation of the Center forty years ago established her as the first full-time women's rights legal advocate in Washington, D.C.

A recognized expert on women and the law, particularly in the areas of education and employment, health and reproductive rights, and family economic security, Ms. Greenberger has been a leader in securing the passage of major legislation, counsel in landmark litigation establishing new legal protections for women, and the author of numerous published articles. Examples include the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 providing critical protections against sexual harassment on the job, and Supreme Court victories strengthening protections for students and teachers against sex discrimination in schools.

Her leadership and contributions are reflected in the professional honors she has received and the numerous boards on which she has served. She has been given the James Wilson Award and the Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women "Beacon" Leadership Award, the American Bar Association Margaret Brent Award for 2012, the National Association of Women Lawyers' Arabella Babb Mansfield Award, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lafayette College as well as the Woman Lawyer of the Year Award by the D.C. Women's Bar Association and the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award by the District of Columbia Bar. Additionally, she has been recognized by Working Woman Magazine as one of the 25 heroines whose activities over 25 years have helped women in the workplace, by Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington, D.C.'s most powerful women, by Legal Times as a "Top Lawyer" and one of its "30 Champions", and by Legal Times and The National Law Journal as one of "Washington's Most Influential Women Lawyers." She has received the Dr. Jane Evans Pursuit of Justice Award from Women of Reform Judaism, A Woman of Genius Award from Trinity College, the "21 Leaders of the 21st Century" Award from Womens eNews, and the Woman of Distinction Award from Soroptimist International of the Americas. She was elected to the Court of Honor of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, received the Hope Award from Calvary Women's Shelter and awards from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and the Center for Law and Social Policy. She received a Presidential appointment to the National Skill Standards Board, and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Ms. Greenberger received her B.A. with honors and J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. She practiced law with the Washington, D.C., firm of Caplin and Drysdale before she started and became Director of the Women's Rights Project of the Center for Law and Social Policy, which became the National Women's Law Center in 1981.

My Take

Second Chances

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: March 05, 2013 at 11:51 am

We don’t always get a second chance to make things right. But tomorrow, obstructionists in the U.S. Senate do. In December 2011, every Republican Senator, save one (Senator Lisa Murkowski) filibustered the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the important Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Tomorrow, the Senate will get a second chance to allow this outstanding nominee to receive an up-or-down vote.

The delays in her confirmation have only caused more problems for this court, and the public at large, during the thirteen months since the first vote to move to consider Caitlin Halligan’s nomination failed. Instead of three open seats on the D.C. Circuit, as there were in 2011, there are now four – making the D.C. Circuit the appellate court with the highest number of vacancies in the country. Now seven judges must do the work meant for a full eleven-judge court. With each vacancy, each judge’s caseload of complex, nationally important cases has grown.  What else has changed? Well, since President Obama won a second term, the virtual total shutdown of the confirmation process has ended. So now is clearly the time to move the Halligan nomination forward, to a consideration of her excellent record – and a confirmation vote.

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Celebrate Women's History Month with More Diversity on The Federal Bench

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: March 04, 2013 at 11:40 am

March is Women's History Month, which affords us the opportunity to reflect on how far we've come in this country, and how far we have yet to go. And in many respects, recent events in the Congress illustrate both themes. For example, the last day of February, the Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, with even stronger protections for Native American, immigrant, and LGBT women. Yet it was a long and hard-fought battle, despite this law's proven effectiveness is combating domestic violence and the overwhelming bipartisan support the law has enjoyed over time.

Another example? Diversity on our federal courts. President Obama’s Administration has nominated more women and people of color for judgeships than any previous Administration in history. President Obama already has appointed more minority women judges than President Bush or President Clinton. As a result, the percentage of active women judges on the federal bench has increased from slightly above 25% to over 30% since 2009. For the first time in history, moreover, three women serve on the Supreme Court at one time. And of course, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court, became the first Hispanic to sit on the highest court in the land.

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It’s Time to Confirm Caitlin Halligan

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: February 14, 2013 at 03:05 pm

For the second time, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to approve President Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Ms. Halligan, a talented appellate lawyer, was first nominated in September 2010, and an outpouring of bipartisan support quickly followed from prominent lawyers, law-enforcement officials, women’s legal organizations, and others from around the country. Even so, a minority of Senators insisted on filibustering her nomination, and they have succeeded in blocking it so far.  In the meantime, the number of vacancies on this important court has grown, and now there are an alarming four vacancies on this 11-judge court. Now that the President has resubmitted her nomination, and the Committee has again approved it, it is high time that a confirmation vote is held before the full Senate.

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What a Speech! Thank President Obama

Posted by | Posted on: February 14, 2013 at 01:07 pm

What a night, and what a speech!

On Tuesday, President Obama laid out an important economic agenda for women and families in his State of the Union address — expanding early education opportunities, advancing fair tax and budget policies, increasing the federal minimum wage, and passing both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

This is a full and impressive agenda for President Obama's second term. But we're up for the challenge and we hope you are, too!

Please join us in thanking President Obama for his commitment to women and their families. Your voice will send a strong signal to the White House that it's on the right track.

What's our take on all of these key issues?

  • Expanding Early Education Opportunities — President Obama's early childhood initiative would expand access to critical early learning opportunities for millions of preschool age and young children across the country. This would help many low- and middle-income women and their families who are struggling to afford the early learning opportunities that put their children on a path to success.
  • Advancing Fair Tax and Budget Policies — President Obama called on Congress to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. This is especially important to women, because millions of hard-working women are struggling to lift their families out of poverty and cuts in funding for public services have cost women hundreds of thousands of jobs. We also need a tax system that fairly raises the revenue required to make these wise investments and stave off deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs women and their families count on.
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Taking Stock of Diversity in the Federal Judiciary; Significant Progress Has Been Made, But Much Remains to Be Done

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: December 28, 2012 at 10:52 am
As we approach the end of President Obama’s first term in office, it’s an appropriate time to look back and take stock of the impact the President has had on the federal bench, to date. Although, thanks to a determined minority in the Senate, there is a record number of judicial seats that remain empty, the most recent additions to the federal bench are remarkable not only for their excellence and qualifications, but also for how they are changing the face of the judiciary.  
 
President Obama’s Administration has nominated more women and people of color for judgeships than any previous Administration in history. Overall, of the President’s confirmations, approximately 43% have been women, more than twice the rate under the previous Administration.  In fact, more women have been confirmed to the federal bench in President Obama’s first term than during President George W. Bush’s entire presidency. As a result, even with the vacancies, the percentage of active women judges on the federal bench has increased from slightly above 25% to over 30% since 2009.  
 
The Administration also broke gender barriers by confirming six women as the first woman judges ever to serve on their district court, and five more as the first woman circuit judge in their state.  And it must be noted, of course, that for the first time in history, three women serve on the Supreme Court at one time.  President Obama’s nomination of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan created that exciting breakthrough. 
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