Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman serving on the countrys highest court pending a confirmation of Harriet Miers, is coming to West Virginia University Thursday, Oct. 20.

Ginsburg will speak at 2 p.m. that day at the WVU College of Laws Lugar Courtroom.

We are understandably thrilled that Justice Ginsburg is paying us a visit,Dean John Fisher said.Its always an honor when we have a Supreme Court justice here, and the recent vacancies on the court have created a new interest in the justices and the proceedings.

Ginsburgs visit comes during a time of rare turnover for the court whose justices are appointed for life.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist died last month of complications from thyroid cancer, and Justice Sandra Day OConner, the first woman ever to be appointed to the court when President Reagan nominated her in 1981, announced in July that she would retire.

In the months since, John Roberts has been confirmed by the Senate as chief justice to replace the late Rehnquist, whom he once served as law clerk.

And President Bush nominated the earlier mentioned Miers, a current White House counsel, as OConners replacement. If confirmed, shell join Ginsburg as one of two women justices sitting on the court.

The Brooklyn-born Ginsburg was tapped as President Clintons first choice for the court in 1993, to replace the retiring Justice Byron R. White. Before that, she was a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in the D.C. Circuit, an appointment made by President Carter.

She has long been hailed for her work in womens rights and civil liberties issues. Shes a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Law School, where she returned as a professor and the first woman with tenure to be hired there.

A position at Rutgers University Law School followed, where she battled for maternity leave rights for New Jersey school teachers.

President Carter appointed her an appeals judge as she was serving a fellowship at Stanfords Center for Advanced Study in Behavior Sciences.

Ginsburgs visit to WVU follows earlier appearances by OConner in 1997 and Rehnquist in 1999.