June 22, 2020

Professor Emerita Nadine Taub served on the faculty in Newark for about 30 years commencing in the early 1970s and was a pioneer in the field of Women’s Rights through her groundbreaking clinical practice, teaching and scholarship. She founded the Rutgers Women’s Rights Clinic (WRC) in the early 1970s as part of women’s rights teaching and advocacy generated at Rutgers as initially conceptualized by then-Rutgers Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and as depicted in last year’s movie, “On the Basis of Sex.” The Rutgers Women’s Rights Clinic is believed to be the first such clinic in the country.

As the WRC’s director, Professor Taub, with her students, pioneered work in establishing sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in education under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972; helped advance in the New Jersey Supreme Court, with Lou Raveson, the state constitutional right of low-income women to medicaid-funded therapeutic abortions after the U.S Supreme Court had rejected such a right under the U.S. Constitution; secured access to women to previously all-male eat¬ing clubs and accommodations under state civil rights law such as Princeton University's Ivy Club; and developed novel ways for battered women to use traditional civil remedies to obtain protection from their attackers. She also spearheaded work with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on domestic violence issues while an active member of the New Jersey Task Force on Domestic Violence.

She is the co-author of several books and treatises on women’s rights and gender discrimination including Sex Discrimination and The Law: History, Practice and Theory (1995 Apsen Casebook Series); Reproductive Law for the 1990s (1988 Humana Press); The Law of Sex Discrimination (1988 Wadsworth Pub.); and Adult Domestic Violence: Constitutional, Legislative and Equitable Issues (1981 National Clearinghouse for Legal Services).

Nadine died on June 16, 2020. Professor Taub is survived by her husband, Olof Widlund, her sister, Mara Taub, and brother, Haskell Taub. Her family has not yet indicated whether they will be having services for Nadine in the United States.

Nadine Taub at Rutgers

As remembered by Jon Hyman
Professor Emeritus
September 5, 2017

I’m so pleased to be able to share some memories of Nadine and what she accomplished for Rutgers and for women’s rights, on the occasion of the creation of a scholar position named in her honor, held by Professor Jennifer Rosen Valverde.

Nadine was one of the key reasons I came to Rutgers. I had known her in law school at Yale, but had lost touch for several years. When we made contact again, I was in Chicago co-directing Northwestern Law School’s new legal clinic, and knew hardly anything about Newark. But she made the prospect of working at Rutgers quite attractive. Modern clinical legal education was just getting underway, and Nadine, Frank Askin, Annamay Sheppard and Chuck Jones had created a powerful model of impact-directed clinics at Rutgers. Frank’s, Annamay’s and Chuck’s approaches were familiar to me. Litigation for women’s rights, however, in a clinic focused on just that topic, was something entirely new. Nadine had created a model that has taken root and grown. Now, at Rutgers and in clinics around the country, we have clinics separately focused on a wide variety of specific issues, where enforcing or changing the law can make a difference.

Our Rutgers clinics were originally jammed together in a few adjoining rooms on the first floor of Conklin Hall, across University Avenue from what was then the law school (Ackerson Hall, which is now the College of Nursing.) Although I was with Frank in the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, we all couldn’t help but bump into each other on an almost daily basis. That helped us all. But working together can conflict with the need to maintain an independent focus. Concerned about this, when we moved to our current space, Nadine made sure that she kept an identifiable place for her women’s rights project within our new clinical space. She needed a separate physical identity to support the conceptual identity of her cutting-edge work. She got the space, but at the same time remained fully a part of our joint clinical enterprise. It was always an inspiration, and sometimes a kick in the pants, to walk by her office and see her and Joyce Brown, her assistant of many years, intensely attacking some problem or issue.

I remember most Nadine’s vision, intensity, legal imagination, and persistence, all wrapped up in a friendly and engaging personality. Her fierce commitment to the flourishing of women’s rights, and to the enduring place of clinics in law school education, remained constant throughout her many years at Rutgers. And she got results. Her thrilling victories energized us all. Remember the days when some Princeton University eating clubs excluded women? Gone, despite powerful opposition, thanks to Nadine’s work over many years. Is a hostile work environment illegal sex discrimination? Judge Herbert Stern of the U.S. District Court didn’t think so. Nor, initially, did other courts. But Nadine got Judge Stern’s decision reversed and made the hostile work environment principle part of sex discrimination law. She so impressed the judge that, after his decision was reversed, he added a large bonus to his award of attorneys fees to her clinic. This was the first major fee award received by our clinics, and became the basis of our first litigation expense fund. Within our own institution, Nadine showed us that her kind of commitment belongs in the law school as much as any other form of teaching or intellectually creative legal work; the university made her a Distinguished Professor, based in large part on her clinical accomplishments. I’ve always appreciated that strong reminder that we clinicians have a place at the table. I hope she remains an inspiration to any of our teacher/lawyers whose positions are named in her honor.

On the Passing of Professor Emerita Nadine Taub

Jennifer Rosen Valverde,
Clinical Professor of Law, Education and Health Law Clinic &
Nadine Taub Scholar, Rutgers Law School
Professor, Rutgers School of Public Health
June 22, 2020

When I first started at Rutgers in 2001, I found many boxes in my office with Nadine Taub's name on them. At that time, I did not know of Nadine or her pioneering work in the area of women's rights. However, the more I learned of Nadine-- about her advocacy on behalf of female victims of domestic violence, low-income women seeking abortions, and women subjected to gender discrimination and sexual harassment-- and about her personality from colleagues who cared deeply for her, the more my admiration for her grew. The boxes remained in my office for several years, and each time I saw her name I was reminded of the incredible bar she set to which I could only strive to meet. Her tireless work on behalf of others and her legacy energized me to keep plowing forward. That is why I am so honored to carry her name in my scholar designation. A few years ago, I learned from Nadine's sister, Mara, that her middle name was, "Hope." I carry that with me, too.

On the Passing of Professor Emerita Nadine Taub

Penny Venetis
Clinical Professor of Law & Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise Scholar
Director, International Human Rights Clinic
June 22, 2020

I had the great pleasure of working closely with Nadine Taub before she became too ill to teach. She was a brilliant, creative and tenacious advocate for gender equality. In addition to founding and running the pioneering Women’s Rights Clinic, Nadine also founded the Women and AIDS Clinic to address the skyrocketing contagion of AIDS among women of color. That clinic was run for many years by our former colleague Cynthia Dennis.

On the Passing of Professor Emerita Nadine Taub

Professor Clifford Zimmerman
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
July 6, 2020

I was very disillusioned after my first year of law school and decided to do try one more thing to see if the education was worth it or if I should drop out and do something else.  That summer I worked in the Women’s Rights Litigation Clinic.  Nadine gently guided me into the clinic work and the profession, and I would never be the same after that.  She knew exactly what I needed to understand about civil rights, representing clients, and researching the law – all lessons that I applied in practice and try to instill in my students.  At the core of this was her empathy, for clients and law students, which she knew exactly how to instill in students.  It has lasted with me so that I included an example as one of the vignettes in a book I wrote and use in a leadership course for law students, in the chapter on empathy:

Motivated by the Client

When I was in clinic in law school, I was as dedicated as one could be. It was in the Women’s Rights Litigation Clinic, and I was a guy. While my head and heart were in the right place, the humbling came quickly and I embraced it. (Note: my mentor knew I needed this adjustment and knew how to get me to it.)

Discussing cases early on I found myself limited in what I could add to the conversation. Again, I knew the law, my heart was in the right place, but something was missing, and I could not put my finger on it. Within a week of starting clinic, a client came in for an interview. My mentor asked me to join the interview. I could feel the palpable shift in my thinking and motivation as our client told us what happened to her. A million thoughts (a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea) bounced around in my head. After the interview, I met with the attorney/my mentor and she asked what I was thinking. I surprised myself even with the flow of creative ideas that I had about how to pursue the facts, the law, the defendants, the causes of action, and the relief. She smiled, said “get organized,” and left me to create a plan of action.

This story says so much about her, and about how she knew exactly what I needed and how to get me to understand that as well.  I worked with Nadine throughout my law school career, enrolling in the clinic and being her research assistant in my last year, researching, editing, and shuttling article sections between her and co-author Wendy Williams in my final semester.  It would be an understatement to say that she was the a huge foundational piece that kept me in school, allowed me to find my way to the end, and continued to guide my decisions in practice.

In practice, I took her lessons to heart.  In one case, I made a novel argument alleging sex discrimination in a police failure to rescue case, and convinced the Illinois Supreme Court to allow it.  I talked with her throughout that process and she invited me back to school to talk about the case, which opened my eyes to the possibility of teaching.  In the 30 years I have been teaching (at DePaul and Northwestern), I have tried my best to work and live up to her standards.  I have tried to bring her passion for work, for civil rights, and for students to all that I have done and continue to do.

We always say that we hope our teaching lives on in our students.  Trust that Nadine’s teaching and values live on in my work and certainly in that of the countless other students she mentored and taught.  We all strive to live and work up to her standards.  And we all know that is what is wants and expects of us.

Finally, my wife and I married some 34 years ago.  While Nadine declined to attend the wedding (I also learned from her that no teacher can go to all student weddings!), we still have and cherish the table cloth (white with red apples) she (and Olof) sent us.

I think of her often and will miss her dearly.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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