HRC’s Alphonso David Named to Commission for RBG Brooklyn Statue

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Brooklyn native, in a 2017 photograph at the Supreme Court.
Reuters/ Jonathan Ernst

Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, has been named by Governor Andrew Cuomo to an 18-member commission to oversee creation of a statue honoring the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the US Supreme Court from 1993 until her death at age 87 on September 18.

David, who worked for Cuomo for many years, most recently as counsel to the governor, is one of several commission members representing groups advocating for issues on which Ginsburg distinguished herself in her years on the high court , as a circuit court judge for the preceding 13 years, and in her role as the co-founder of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Cuomo names panel to honor late Supreme Court justice in her home borough

At the time of Ginsburg’s death, David, in a written statement, said, “Today, we lost an unqualified, undisputed hero. She wasn’t just an iconic jurist, Justice Ginsburg was a force for good — a force for bringing this country closer to delivering on its promise of equality for all. Her decades of work helped create many of the foundational arguments for gender equality in the United States, and her decisions from the bench demonstrated her commitment to full LGBTQ equality.”

Arthur S. Leonard, a New York Law School professor who is Gay City News’ legal correspondent, in a detailed review of Ginsburg’s high court record on LGBTQ rights, noted that she “joined all of the pro-LGBTQ rights majorities and dissented from all adverse decisions except for the two in which the court was unanimous” — one involving the First Amendment expressive association right of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade  organizers in Boston to exclude gay groups and the other on the responsibilities of government-funded law schools to allow military recruiters on campus despite the Pentagon’s policy at the time of excluding gay and lesbian servicemembers.

HRC president Alphonso David.Donna Aceto

Other advocates named to the commission include Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW New York, and Shana Knizhnik, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society. (Knizhnik was co-author with Irin Carmon — a New York Magazine senior correspondent also named to the commission — of “Notorious RGB: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”)

Gloria Steinem, the iconic feminist leader who co-founded Ms. Magazine, was named as an honorary commission member, along with Justice Sonia Sotomayor — who is also a native New Yorker — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, and Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest bench.

Other members of the commission include Ginsburg’s daughter, Jane Ginsburg, and two of her granddaughters, Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert A. Katzmann, and Nina Totenberg, the Legal Affairs correspondent at NPR.

Ginsburg grew up in Brooklyn, making the borough the appropriate locale for her statue. She was a graduate of James Madison High School on Bedford Avenue in the Midwood-Marine Park section of the borough. That school’s principal, Jodie Cohen, has also been named to the statue commission.

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