Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The Notorious R.B.G., and the second woman confirmed to the Supreme Court

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"Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) to be confirmed to the Court, and one of four female justices to be confirmed (with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are still serving). Following Justice O'Connor's retirement, and prior to Justice Sotomayor joining the Court, Ginsburg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia, Olmstead v. L.C., and Friends of the Earth Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.

 

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York to Russian Jewish immigrants. When she was a baby, her older sister died, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She was a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class...

 

After the birth of their daughter, her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. During this period, Ginsburg attended class and took notes for both of them, typed her husband's dictated papers and cared for their daughter and her sick husband—all while making the Harvard Law Review. They celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on June 23, 2010. Martin Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic cancer on June 27, 2010. They spoke publicly of being in a shared earning/shared parenting marriage including in a speech Martin Ginsburg wrote and had intended to give before his death that Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered posthumously...

 

Following law school, Ginsburg turned to academia. She was a professor at Rutgers School of Law and Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field. Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court.

 

Bader attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she was a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. While at Cornell, she met Martin D. Ginsburg at age seventeen. She graduated from Cornell with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government on June 23, 1954. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the highest-ranking female student in her graduating class. Bader married Ginsburg a month after her graduation from Cornell. She followed her new husband to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was stationed as a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) officer in the Army Reserve after his call-up to active duty. At age twenty-one, she worked for the Social Security Administration office in Oklahoma, where she was demoted after becoming pregnant with her first child. She gave birth to a daughter in 1955.

 

In the fall of 1956, Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard Law School, where she was one of only nine women in a class of about five hundred men. The Dean of Harvard Law reportedly asked the female law students, including Ginsburg, "How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?" When her husband took a job in New York City, Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School and became the first woman to be on two major law reviews: the Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review. In 1959, she earned her Bachelor of Laws at Columbia and tied for first in her class...

 

Her first position as a professor was at Rutgers School of Law in 1963. The appointment was not without its drawbacks; Ginsburg was informed she would be paid less than her male colleagues because she had a husband with a well-paid job. At the time Ginsburg entered academia, she was one of fewer than twenty female law professors in the United States...

 

In 1970, she co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the U.S. to focus exclusively on women's rights. From 1972 to 1980, she taught at Columbia, where she became the first tenured woman and co-authored the first law school casebook on sex discrimination...

 

In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and, in 1973, she became the ACLU's general counsel. The Women's Rights Project and related ACLU projects participated in over three hundred gender discrimination cases by 1974. As the director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, she argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976, winning five. Rather than asking the Court to end all gender discrimination at once, Ginsburg charted a strategic course, taking aim at specific discriminatory statutes and building on each successive victory...

 

Ginsburg volunteered to write the brief for Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971), wherein the Supreme Court extended the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to women for the first time. She argued and won Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973), which challenged a statute making it more difficult for a female service member to claim an increased housing allowance for her husband than for a male service member seeking the same allowance for his wife. Ginsburg argued the statute treated women as inferior, and the Supreme Court ruled 8–1 in her favor. The Court again ruled in Ginsburg's favor in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975), where Ginsburg represented a widower denied survivor benefits under Social Security, which permitted widows but not widowers to collect special benefits while caring for minor children. She argued it discriminated against female workers denying them the same protection as their male counterparts. Ginsburg filed an amicus brief and sat with counsel at oral argument for the case Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), in which she challenged an Oklahoma statute which set different minimum drinking ages for men and women. For the first time, the Court imposed what is known as "intermediate scrutiny" on laws discriminating based on gender, a heightened standard of Constitutional review. Her last case as a lawyer before the Court was 1978's Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357 (1979), which challenged the validity of voluntary jury duty for women as she deemed women's participation in government service as vital and that jury duty should not be optional. At the end of Ginsburg's oral presentation, then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist asked Ginsburg, "You won't settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?" Ginsburg said she considered responding, "We won't settle for tokens", but instead opted not to answer the question.

 

Legal scholars and advocates credit Ginsburg's body of work with making significant legal advances for women under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Taken together, Ginsburg's legal victories discouraged legislatures from treating women and men differently under the law. She continued to work on the ACLU's Women's Rights Project until her appointment to the Federal Bench in 1980. Later, colleague Antonin Scalia praised Ginsburg's skills as an advocate, "she became the leading (and very successful) litigator on behalf of women's rights—the Thurgood Marshall of that cause, so to speak".

 

President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on April 14, 1980, to the seat of recently deceased judge Harold Leventhal. She served there for thirteen years until she joined the Supreme Court.

 

President Bill Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on June 14, 1993, to fill the seat vacated by retiring Justice Byron White. " (1)

From Wikipedia

 

We at WndrWmn are huge fans of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and cannot recommend The Notorious R.B.G. by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik enough. It's a fabulous book about the life of Ginsberg, and is credited with helping accelerate the popularization of Ginsberg.



Her Works