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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

Reed v. Reed Advances Equality for Women, but Must Always Be Defended

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: November 22, 2011 at 03:07 pm

Forty years ago today, for the first time in its history, the Supreme Court held that a law that discriminated against women violated the Constitution. In Reed v. Reed, a unanimous Court struck down an Idaho law requiring the automatic preference of a man over a woman when both applied to be the executor of an estate. The Court recognized that women had a constitutional right to equal protection of the law, turning from a long list of previous rulings that allowed women to be excluded from juries, or the legal profession, or even bartending, on the grounds that women needed to be protected from the rough-and-tumble of the workplace or the public square, or confined to the sphere of hearth and home. The Court’s ruling was spurred by the advocacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who authored Sally Reed’s Supreme Court brief and whose efforts in that case and in a series of groundbreaking Supreme Court cases in the years that followed established constitutional protection against discrimination on the basis of sex. Forty years ago today, the Supreme Court’s decision also gave new constitutional underpinnings to the statutory protections against sex discrimination in employment and an impetus and strength to an array of new statutory protections against discrimination in education, credit, and housing, as well as employment, in the years that followed. That work continues. Most recently, there is a new protection against sex discrimination in federally-funded health care, as part of the Affordable Care Act, closing yet one more gap in legal protection against discrimination women are still fighting to secure.

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Women on the Federal Courts: An Update

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: October 04, 2011 at 11:18 am

Yesterday, the Senate confirmed six judicial nominees, four of whom were women: Nannette Jolivette Brown to the Eastern District of Louisiana, Nancy Torresen to the District of Maine, Marina Garcia Marmolejo to the Southern District of Texas, and Jennifer Guerin Zipps to the District of Arizona. Not only did the confirmation of these women bring the total number of women confirmed to the federal bench during the Obama Administration to 50 (47% of all confirmed nominees), but two of these nominees broke glass ceilings in their jurisdictions – Judge Brown will be the first African-American woman on the Eastern District of Louisiana, and Judge Torreson will be the first woman to sit on the district court of Maine.

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Senate, Get Back to Work: Vote on 20 Judges in September

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: September 06, 2011 at 01:15 pm

This week, the Senate returns from its August recess. With all of the needs confronting the nation, it is unconscionable that because of a determined minority, included on its must-do list is a large number of unaddressedjudicial nominations that have been piling up. Despite 92 federal judicial vacancies, 37 of which are deemed judicial emergencies, the Senate left town without taking action on 20 judicial nominees, many of whom were approved without any opposition whatsoever by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and have been waiting for a Senate vote for months.

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Goodwin H. Liu Confirmed to California Supreme Court: A Lesson for the Country

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: September 01, 2011 at 11:52 am

Yesterday was a good day for all those who care about justice, and an object lesson for the U.S. Senate. The California state Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously voted to confirm Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

It is gratifying that an individual of soon-to-be Justice Liu's legal talent, insight, and wisdom will be on this important and influential court. Having had the great good fortune to work with him during his service on the National Women's Law Center's Board of Directors, I know him to be a person of the highest integrity and fairness, who is deeply committed to public service. The Center has benefitted from his extraordinary legal mind and analytical skills more times than I can count. Although we will miss him sorely as a Board member, we are more than consoled by the fact that he will bring his exceptional talents to one of the most respected state high courts in the country, whose decisions have been looked to by other courts nationwide.

When Governor Brown nominated Goodwin Liu this July, the enthusiastic support for the nomination was immediately apparent. A month later, the California Bar Association's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation rated him "exceptionally well qualified" and observed that "Professor Liu possesses a brilliant intellect, along with exceptional gifts for research and writing which allow him to parse complex and obscure legal doctrines and present them in the form of viable and understandable concepts." The Commission concluded that Goodwin Liu will be "an ideal addition to the Supreme Court bench because his judicious consideration of all points of view will facilitate intellectual debate and consensus building."

Yesterday, a month and a half after Governor Brown nominated Goodwin Liu, the Commission on Judicial Appointments heard the testimony of ten witnesses in support of the nomination. Letters of support flooded the offices of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, from over 130 law professors — including former Bush Administration officials John Yoo and Richard Painter — legal organizations, members of Congress, and the public.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission voted unanimously to confirm Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court. He will be sworn in today.

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Support the Nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: August 16, 2011 at 09:49 am

Exceptional legal talent, a dedication to public service, integrity, and total commitment to the rule of law — this is what law professor Goodwin Liu will bring to California's highest court. 

Take action today — support the nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court

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