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Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Life & Work (June 2019)

In October 2003, Savana Lee Redding, a middle school honor student, was ordered out of her class by the assistant principal.  Savana had no idea why she was singled out.  The assistant principal claimed that Savana was concealing illegal drugs in her backpack and her clothing.  He ordered two female school employees to search the girl's backpack and her pants and t-shirt. They found no drugs. Savana was not permitted to call her mother.

 

Infuriated by the mistreatment of her daughter, Savana's mother contacted a lawyer for help.

 

In April 2009, Savana and her mother sat in the courtroom of the U.S. Supreme Court, waiting for oral argument in Safford United School District v. Redding. One of the nine justices entering the courtroom -- and the only woman -- was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The outcome of the case turned on Justice Ginsburg's understanding of the realities of the life of a thirteen-year-old girl.