Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

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

Breaking News: Senate to Vote on Judicial Nominee Caitlin Halligan

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: December 02, 2011 at 01:14 pm

Caitlin Halligan, a nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court, is one of the most respected appellate lawyers in the country. She has a broad range of legal experience, including government service, private practice, and academia. She has honed her practice in state and federal appellate courts, and has argued five cases before the Supreme Court. Her many accomplishments are reflected by the unanimous "Well-Qualified" rating she received from the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. She has earned the respect and support of her peers and has been endorsed by a long list of organizations.

This superb nominee has waited over eight months without a vote by U.S. Senators — even though there are three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit. But the wait is finally over.

It's time for a vote: Tell your Senators to support the nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the D.C. Circuit.


Tell Your Senators: Get the Job Done on Judicial Nominations

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: November 30, 2011 at 04:49 pm

Sadly, we are getting used to obstruction in Congress on a whole range of issues. But we can't afford to let the Senate off the hook because a determined minority is preventing votes on federal judges.

Tell your Senators to stop the delays and insist on a vote on ALL judicial nominees.

Almost one in ten federal judgeships sits empty, and over one-third of those vacancies are in courts so overburdened that they have been deemed judicial emergencies. When our courts aren't working at full capacity, it takes longer to resolve civil cases.

It doesn't have to be this way. There are 22 nominees ready for a floor vote, and if the Senate voted on all of them, the number of vacancies would be reduced by almost 30%.


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.


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.


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.