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A WOMAN'S PLACE IS ON THE BENCH
BY JENNIFER BALDINO BONETT
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Mokgoro has dedicated much of her career to human rights, particularly among women and children, an interest ignited "intensely" at Penn Law. In contributing to the development of the South African Constitution, she "investigated the ideas, formulated principles, and supported those women who were negotiating around the conference table, introducing ideas for womenís and childrenís protection into the constitution."

When asked how it feels to have made history, Mokgoro answers in her measured, almost lyrical, half-whisper: "When you are really immersed in something you donít realize the enormity of its value. It is when you sit back, or when you communicate with people when you step outside of your work environment, that you realize the intensity of the work that you do.

"You wake up in the morning, and you go to work, and look at the issues that are before the court," she says. "You do your research and spend sleepless nights worrying about your decisions ó how to make them, what to take into account, what is the best way to answer the intriguing questions that come before the court, and you tend to see that only against itself.

"The real impact comes later," she says. "Then you realize the enormity of the history you are making, the enormity of the jurisprudence that you are building, the newness of the turn our law and our country and our continent and our world are taking."

Mokgoro, like Kravitch, Poritz, Shapiro and Sloviter before her, not only presided over historic changes but helped to bring them about. And that is why their pictures now and forever will occupy a honored place in classrooms at Penn Law.

 
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