In January 1977, a women’s rights lawyer named Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to Washington for an interview with Griffin Bell, the former federal appeals court judge, King & Spalding partner and then the nominee to be President-elect Jimmy Carter’s attorney general.

Carter had already made a point to diversify his administration with talented women and minorities, and Ginsburg ”was on everybody’s list” of lawyers to consider for jobs at the U.S. Justice Department, recalled Terry Adamson, one of Bell’s aides.

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