Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biography: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazing Supreme Court justice who dedicated her life to fighting for gender equality. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933 and faced discrimination throughout her education and career. But she never gave up, and she eventually became the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biography
|Ruth Bader Ginsburg
|March 15, 1933
|Brooklyn, New York, USA
|September 18, 2020
– B.A. from Cornell University, 1954 <br>- B.A. in law from Harvard Law School, 1959 (tied for first in her class) <br>- Attended Columbia Law School (transferred from Harvard)
– Clerk for Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York <br>- Professor of law at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School <br>- Director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) <br>- Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit <br>- Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton)
|Supreme Court Tenure
August 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020 (27 years)
– Majority opinions in United States v. Virginia and Olmstead v. L.C. <br>- Dissenting opinions in Ledbetter v. Goodyear and Shelby County v. Holder
Known for her advocacy of women’s rights and gender equality. She became a cultural icon and inspiration for many, earning the nickname “Notorious RBG.” Ginsburg’s work on the Supreme Court helped shape significant legal decisions on civil liberties and social issues.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020, due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her death led to a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court and a contentious nomination process to fill her seat.
Who Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
After graduating from Columbia Law School, Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and was a steadfast courtroom advocate for women’s equality. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter named her to the U.S. Court of Appeals; in 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court.
Joan Ruth Bader became Ginsburg on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the second child of Nathan and Celia Bader and was raised in a working-class, low-income area in Brooklyn. Ginsburg learned the value of independence and a strong education from her mother, who had a significant impact on her life.
Ginsburg was very moved by Celia’s noble decision to work in a garment factory rather than attend college in order to support her brother’s college tuition. Ginsburg actively pursued her education at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, where she was a standout student. Sadly, Ginsburg’s mother battled cancer all through her high school years and passed on the day before Ginsburg’s graduation.
Ginsburg graduated first in her class with a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University in 1954. In the same year, she wed Martin D. Ginsburg, a law student. Due to the fact that Jane, their first child, was born soon after Martin was enlisted in the military in 1954, the couple faced difficulties in the early years of their marriage. After serving for two years, the couple went to Harvard, where Ginsburg had also enrolled, after his discharge.
At Harvard, Ginsburg discovered how to juggle motherhood and her new life as a law student. In addition, she experienced a hostile workplace that was heavily male-dominated and had just eight other female students in her 500-person class. The dean of the law school reprimanded the women for filling the positions of capable men. Ginsburg persisted though, achieving academic success, and eventually becoming the first woman to join the esteemed Harvard Law Review.
Arguing for Gender Equality
Martin faced still another obstacle in 1956 when he developed testicular cancer, which necessitated extensive medical care and rehabilitation. Ginsburg pursued her own legal education while caring for her little daughter and her ailing spouse while taking notes in his classes. Following his recovery, Martin completed his legal education and obtained a position at a New York law firm.
Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School in order to live with her husband in New York City, and there she was chosen for the law review. In 1959, she received the top grade in her class. Ginsburg, despite having a stellar academic record, continued to experience gender prejudice when looking for a job after graduation.
After serving as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri (1959–1961), Ginsburg taught at Columbia University (1972–1980), where she was the first female tenured professor, and at Rutgers University Law School (1963–1972). She also served as the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s, during which time she represented the organization on six significant issues concerning gender equality before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ginsburg did, however, also hold that all groups were entitled to equal rights and that the law was gender-blind. One of the five instances she prevailed in front of the Supreme Court was a section of the Social Security Act that gave benefits to widows but not widowers, favoring women over males.
On the Supreme Court
Ginsburg was appointed by President Carter to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. She worked there until President Clinton chose her to take Justice Byron White’s place and appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. President Clinton sought a candidate with the political savvy and intellectual capacity to work with the Court’s more conservative justices.
Despite the irritation several senators exhibited over Ginsburg’s opaque responses to hypothetical questions, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings were uncommonly cordial. Many people were worried about how she would make the transition from social activist to Supreme Court justice. Ultimately, the Senate comfortably confirmed her, 96-3.
Ginsburg advocated moderation, restraint, and prudence when serving as a judge. She was regarded as a member of the moderate-liberal majority on the Supreme Court and provided a resounding voice in support of issues like gender equality, worker rights, and the separation of church and state. Ginsburg authored the Supreme Court’s famous United States v. Virginia judgment, which found that the state-funded Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. This decision was made in 1996. She received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association in 1999 for her work on civil rights and gender equality.
At her residence in Washington, D.C., Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020, as a result of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Roberts remarked in a statement that “our country has lost a jurist of historic stature.” “A cherished colleague of the Supreme Court has passed away. We mourn today, but we are confident that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be remembered by future generations as the passionate and steadfast advocate for justice that we knew and loved her to be.
On September 25, Ginsburg was buried in state in the Capitol. She will have this distinction as the second Supreme Court Justice and the first female. On September 23 and 24, Ginsburg also lay in state at the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg’s work on the Supreme Court had a profound impact on American society. She authored landmark decisions that expanded women’s rights and helped to create a more just and equitable society. She will be remembered as a champion of justice and a role model for women everywhere.