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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion rights supporter, said the Court’s historic Roe v. Wade decision “seemed to me not the way courts generally work.” Ginsburg, who turns 72 on Tuesday, touched on the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion Thursday during a question-and-answer session with law students at the University of Kansas. Before her appointment to the court in 1993, Ginsburg said she believed the nation might have been better off if abortion rights had been established more gradually. When the court decided Roe v. Wade, Ginsburg said, “The law was changing.” “Women were lobbying around that issue,” she said. “The Supreme Court stopped all that by deeming every law — even the most liberal — as unconstitutional. That seemed to me not the way courts generally work.” Justices sometimes comment publicly on past cases, though they typically avoid discussing cases still pending. At least three members of the court — Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — have said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned. During her visit to the state, Ginsburg did not address Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s ongoing pursuit of medical records from two abortion clinics. Kline has said he needs the records as part of his investigation into child rapes and potentially illegal late-term abortions. The clinics are fighting the request on privacy grounds, and the dispute has infuriated abortion rights activists. Ginsburg served as the first director of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and was the second woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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