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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second female justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a professor at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia University, where she became the school’s first tenured female professor. Ginsburg served as director of the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). She was named to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993 and continued to argue for gender equality in that position until her death in September of 2020.

her life and legacy

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second female justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a professor at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia University, where she became the school’s first tenured female professor. Ginsburg served as director of the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). She was named to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993 and continued to argue for gender equality in that position until her death in September of 2020.

1933 - 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second female justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a professor at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia University, where she became the school’s first tenured female professor. Ginsburg served as director of the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). She was named to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993 and continued to argue for gender equality in that position until her death in September of 2020.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} Ginsburg was appointed by President Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. She served there until President Clinton appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. Ginsburg was the Supreme Court’s second female justice and first Jewish female justice. She was strongly in favor of gender equality, workers’ rights, and separation of church and state. She wrote the landmark decision in United States v. Virginia in 1996 which decided that the Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to accept women. Ginsburg also won the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1999 for her work for gender equality and civil rights. Ginsburg served on the Supreme Court for 27 years, from her appointment in 1993 until she passed away on September 18th, 2020 from complications related to pancreatic cancer.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} Ruth Joan Bader was born in a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York on March 15th, 1933. Her family was Jewish. Her mother, Cecilia Bader, taught Ginsburg from a young age about the value of independence and education. Ginsburg was an excellent student in high school at James Madison High School in Brooklyn. Her mother battled cancer throughout her high school years and unfortunately passed away the day before Ginsburg’s graduation.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} In the 1970s, Ginsburg was also the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). During her time there, she argued 6 landmark cases relating to gender equality in front of the Supreme Court - and won 5 of these 6 cases. Ginsburg believed the law should be gender blind and all groups were entitled to equal rights. One of the cases she won actually helped men secure more rights because previously the Social Security act had given certain benefits to widows (women whose spouse had died) but not widowers (men whose spouse had died). Ginsburg argued that this was unfair, and secured more benefits for widowers.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} Martin Ginsburg ultimately recovered and graduated from law school, and accepted a position with a law firm in New York. In order to be near Martin, Ruth transferred to Columbia Law School, where she was elected to the school’s law review. In 1959, she graduated first in her class. However, despite her academic success, Ginsburg struggled to find a job as a woman. Many law firms denied her, and one even said it would pay her less because her husband worked so she didn’t need to earn money. Ginsburg went on to clerk for U.S. District Judge Emend Palmieri. She then taught at Rutgers University Law School from 1963 to 1972, and Columbia University from 1972 to 1980. She became Columbia’s first tenured female professor.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} Ruth not only raised their daughter and attended her own classes at Harvard Law School, but also attended Martin’s classes, took notes, and typed up papers he dictated to her. Ruth said that after attending classes, taking care of her daughter, preparing dinner, caring for Martin and writing his papers, she would only be able to return to her coursework at 2 in the morning. However, Ginsburg remained at the top of her class at Harvard despite getting only a few hours of sleep per night. She also faced a significant challenge at school being one of only 9 women in her class of 500 people at Harvard. In fact, the dean of the law school spoke to the 9 women and chastised them for taking a spot from qualified men. However, Ginsburg continued to excel academically and became the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'} Ruth Bader attended Cornell University and graduated in 1954, finishing first in her class. She married her Cornell classmate Martin D. Ginsburg that same year. She would later say that Martin was “the only young man (she) dated who cared that (she) had a brain.” However, the early years of their marriage where tough because their first child, Jane, was born after Martin was drafted into the military. He served for two years, and then Martin and Ruth went to Harvard where they were both enrolled as law students. While at Harvard, Ginsburg had to balance motherhood, law school, and taking care of Martin, who had been diagnosed with cancer.Martin Ginsburg (middle) at Ruth Bader Ginsburg's swearing in ceremony.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/womens-history/ruth-bader-ginsburg.