Supreme Court Justices speak to students about women's suffrage

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 21:30:34-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — On the centennial of women's suffrage, Lipscomb University hosted a forum featuring a group who credit women one hundred years ago for making their careers possible.

Current and former Supreme Court Justices in Tennessee came together at Lipscomb to speak to future attorneys. They wouldn't be here if it weren't for the women in Tennessee who demanded the right to vote one hundred years ago. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment, the final state needed to give women the right to vote across the country. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark said the ratification paved the way for women to rise up.

"And because of what our foremothers did in 1920, we have opportunities to be selected and to run for office, and to achieve anything we want to," Justice Clark said.

Justice Clark wants students to never stop fighting for women's rights.

"But in looking at other rights that haven’t been coming to women easily like equal pay, and equal opportunities in law firms, I realize that we should take no right for granted and that if we don’t exercise our rights, we can have them taken away," Clark said.

For student Mimi Vance, the justices remind her that anything is possible.

"I think as someone who is passionate about the law," Vance said, "and is passionate about justice, and wants to be an attorney. I can’t think of 6 better role models for me as I’ve grown up in Tennessee, and hopefully I’m going to stay here and practice."

It's hard for her to imagine a day when women didn't have the right to vote.

"I can’t, and I think it’s why I’m so grateful for the right to vote." Vance said. "And I’m so passionate about making sure that people are registered to vote, and that they are voting in our local elections, in our state elections, in our federal elections, because it matters so much."

Now, more than ever, Justice Clark wants young women to know that fighting for equal rights is imperative to our democracy, "And we can make a difference."

The event at Lipscomb University concluded with a dinner. All the proceeds from it go to a scholarship that benefits Lipscomb law students.