NOW Spotlight on Supreme Court Candidates: Martha Minow

By Liza Doubossarskaia, NOW Communications Intern

It is easy to see why Martha Minow is on the short list of potential Supreme Court nominess to fill Justice Stevens’ vacated seat. Minow obtained degrees from Harvard University and Yale Law School, where she was an editor of Yale Law Review. Since 1986, Minow has worked as a law professor at Harvard and was an inspirational figure for many of her students, one of whom was future President Barack Obama. According to the Washington Post, Obama reportedly said that he decided on a career in public service because of law professor Minow, who changed his life.

Minow’s body of work recommends her as a strong civil rights advocate. Minow’s research interests include equality and inequality, human rights and transitional societies, law and social change, and religion and pluralism. In addition to approaching the abovementioned concerns from an academic perspective, Minow has also involved herself directly with civil rights causes. Minow served on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo and helped launch the Imagine Coexistence program of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She also serves on the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law board of directors and the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center.

Minow never worked as a judge, but after graduating law school she did clerk for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and later for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court. In 2009, Minow was nominated by President Obama to serve on the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation, which is a government sponsored bi-partisan organization that provides legal help to low-income people. She currently serves as vice chair of the board.

Over the course of her professional career, Minow has demonstrated support of numerous feminist issues. For example, she supported the LGBT community when she, along with four other deans of top law schools, signed a letter to Senate and House Armed Services Committees to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Minow also writes books about advocacy for women, people of color, children, persons with disabilities, and religious minorities.

Minow has demonstrated outstanding scholastic knowledge of law, assumed leadership roles on civil rights issues, and proved herself an ally of disadvantaged communities. Minow has qualifications to successfully fill Justice Stevens’ seat and bring fresh perspective to the conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

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