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Ruth Bader Ginsburg shares #MeToo moment about Cornell instructor

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had her fair share of “Me too” moments throughout her life.

During a Sundance “Cinema Cafe” chat with NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg and a small audience that included Robert Redford, she shared one of those early experiences.

As an undergraduate student at Cornell University, a chemistry instructor gave her a practice exam.

“The next day on the test – the test is the practice exam," she said. The instructor had effectively provided her with the answers, "And I knew exactly what he wanted in return.” 

Ginsburg didn’t shy away from confrontation about the implied quid pro quo.

“I walked into his office and said, ‘How dare you? How dare you?’”

But not before preemptively taking action during the exam.

“I deliberately made two mistakes.”

The experience took place in the early 1950s when the term “sexual harassment” wasn’t yet in existence. Its origin story would come nearly two decades later, where it was said to be coined at the very place Ginsburg experienced it  – Cornell. But, the future judge said, there wasn’t much that could be done at the time.

“That was just one of many examples,” she said.

Asked what she thought of the “Me too” movement, Ginsburg didn’t hesitate.

“I think it’s about time.”

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