Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader GinsburgÂ (/ËˆbeÉªdÉ™rÂ ËˆÉ¡ÉªnzbÉœËrÉ¡/, bornÂ Joan Ruth Bader; March 15, 1933)Â is an American lawyer and jurist who is anÂ Associate JusticeÂ of theÂ U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg was appointed by PresidentÂ Bill ClintonÂ and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (afterÂ Sandra Day O’Connor) of four to be confirmed to the court (along withÂ Sonia SotomayorÂ andÂ Elena Kagan, who are still serving). Following O’Connor’s retirement, and until Sotomayor joined 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 theÂ liberalÂ wing of the court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, includingÂ United States v. Virginia,Â Olmstead v. L.C., andÂ Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.
Ginsburg was born inÂ Brooklyn, New York. Her older sister died when she was a baby, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She then earned her bachelor’s degree atÂ Cornell University, and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred toÂ Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. Following law school, Ginsburg turned to academia. She was a professor atÂ Rutgers Law SchoolÂ 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 ofÂ gender equalityÂ andÂ women’s rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for theÂ American Civil Liberties UnionÂ and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, PresidentÂ Jimmy CarterÂ appointed her to theÂ U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg has received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she has been dubbed “The Notorious R.B.G.” in reference to the late rapper known as “The Notorious B.I.G.“.
Early life and education
Joan Ruth Bader was born on March 15, 1933, in theÂ New York CityÂ borough ofÂ Brooklyn, the second daughter of Celia (nÃ©e Amster) and Nathan Bader, who lived in theÂ FlatbushÂ neighborhood. Her father was aÂ JewishÂ emigrant fromÂ Odessa, Ukraine, then in theÂ Russian Empire, and her mother was born in New York toÂ Austrian JewishÂ parents.Â The Baders’ older daughter Marylin died ofÂ meningitisÂ at age six, when Ruth was 14 months old.:3Â The family called Joan Ruth “Kiki”, a nickname Marylin had given her for being “a kicky baby”.:3Â When “Kiki” started school, Celia discovered that her daughter’s class had several other girls named Joan, so Celia suggested that the teacher call her daughter “Ruth” to avoid confusion.:3Â Although not devout, the Bader family belonged toÂ East Midwood Jewish Center, aÂ ConservativeÂ synagogue, where Ruth learned tenets of the Jewish faith and gained familiarity with theÂ Hebrew language.:14â€“15Â At age 13, Ruth acted as the “campÂ rabbi” at a JewishÂ summer programÂ at Camp Che-Na-Wah inÂ Minerva, New York.
Celia took an active role in her daughter’s education, often taking her to the library.Â Celia had been a good student in her youth, graduating from high school at age 15, yet she could not further her own education because her family instead chose to send her brother to college. Celia wanted her daughter to get more education, which she thought would allow Ruth to become a high school history teacher.Â Ruth attendedÂ James Madison High School, whose law program later dedicated a courtroom in her honor. Celia struggled with cancer throughout Ruth’s high school years and died the day before Ruth’s high school graduation.
Bader attendedÂ Cornell UniversityÂ inÂ Ithaca, New York, where she was a member ofÂ Alpha Epsilon Phi.Â While at Cornell, she metÂ Martin D. GinsburgÂ at age 17.Â She graduated from Cornell with a bachelor of arts degree in government on June 23, 1954. She was a member ofÂ Phi Beta KappaÂ and the highest-ranking female student in her graduating class.Â Bader married Ginsburg a month after her graduation from Cornell. She and Martin moved toÂ Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was stationed as aÂ Reserve Officers’ Training CorpsÂ officer in the Army Reserve after his call-up to active duty.Â At age 21, she worked for theÂ Social Security AdministrationÂ office in Oklahoma, where she was demoted after becoming pregnant with her first child.Â She gave birth to a daughter in 1955.
In the fall of 1956, Ginsburg enrolled atÂ Harvard Law School, where she was one of only nine women in a class of about 500 men.Â TheÂ Dean of Harvard LawÂ reportedly invited all of the female law students to dinner at his family home and asked the female law students, including Ginsburg, “Why are you at Harvard Law School, taking the place of a man?”[a]Â When her husband took a job in New York City, Ginsburg transferred toÂ Columbia Law SchoolÂ and became the first woman to be on two majorÂ law reviews: theÂ Harvard Law ReviewÂ andÂ Columbia Law Review. In 1959, she earned her law degree at Columbia and tied for first in her class.
At the start of her legal career, Ginsburg encountered difficulty in finding employment.Â In 1960, Supreme Court JusticeÂ Felix FrankfurterÂ rejected Ginsburg for a clerkship position due to her gender. She was rejected despite a strong recommendation fromÂ Albert Martin Sacks, who was a professor and laterÂ deanÂ of Harvard Law School.[b]Â Columbia Law ProfessorÂ Gerald GuntherÂ also pushed for JudgeÂ Edmund L. PalmieriÂ of theÂ U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New YorkÂ to hire Ginsburg as aÂ law clerk, threatening to never recommend another Columbia student to Palmieri if he did not give Ginsburg the opportunity and guaranteeing to provide the judge with a replacement clerk should Ginsburg not succeed.Â Later that year, Ginsburg began her clerkship for Judge Palmieri, and she held the position for two years.
From 1961 to 1963, Ginsburg was a research associate and then an associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure; she learnedÂ SwedishÂ to co-author a book with Anders Bruzelius on civil procedure in Sweden.Â Ginsburg conducted extensive research for her book atÂ Lund UniversityÂ in Sweden.Â Ginsburg’s time in Sweden also influenced her thinking on gender equality. She was inspired when she observed the changes in Sweden, where women were 20 to 25 percent of all law students; one of the judges whom Ginsburg watched for her research was eight months pregnant and still working.
Her first position as a professor was atÂ Rutgers Law SchoolÂ in 1963.Â 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.Â At the time Ginsburg entered academia, she was one of fewer than 20 female law professors in the United States.Â She was a professor of law, mainly civil procedure, at Rutgers from 1963 to 1972, receiving tenure from the school in 1969.
In 1970, she co-founded theÂ Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the U.S. to focus exclusively on women’s rights.Â From 1972 to 1980, she taught at Columbia, where she became the firstÂ tenuredÂ woman and co-authored the first law schoolÂ casebookÂ onÂ sex discrimination.Â She also spent a year as a fellow of theÂ Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral SciencesÂ atÂ Stanford UniversityÂ from 1977 to 1978.
Litigation and advocacy
In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at theÂ American Civil Liberties UnionÂ (ACLU) and, in 1973, she became the Project’s general counsel.Â The Women’s Rights Project and related ACLU projects participated in over 300 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.Â Rather than asking the court to end all gender discrimination at once, Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
charted a strategic course, taking aim at specific discriminatory statutes and building on each successive victory. She chose plaintiffs carefully, at times picking male plaintiffs to demonstrate that gender discrimination was harmful to both men and women.Â The laws Ginsburg targeted included those that on the surface appeared beneficial to women,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
but in fact reinforced the notion that women needed to be dependent on men.Â Her strategic advocacy extended to word choice, favoring the use of “gender” instead of “sex”, after her secretary suggested the word “sex” would serve as a distraction to judges.Â She attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate and her work led directly to the end of gender discrimination in many areas of the law.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ginsburg volunteered to write the brief forÂ Reed v. Reed,Â 404Â U.S.Â 71Â (1971), in which the Supreme Court extended the protections of theÂ Equal Protection ClauseÂ of theÂ Fourteenth AmendmentÂ to women.[c]Â AsÂ amicusÂ she argued inÂ Frontiero v. Richardson,Â 411Â U.S.Â 677Â (1973), which challenged a statute making it more difficult for a female service member (Frontiero) to claim an increased housing allowance for her husband than for a male service member seeking the same allowance for his wife. Ginsburg argued that the statute treated women as inferior, and the Supreme Court ruled 8â€“1 in Frontiero’s favor.Â The court again ruled in Ginsburg’s favor inÂ Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld,Â 420Â U.S.Â 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 that the statute discriminated against male survivors of workers by denying them the same protection as their female counterparts.
Ginsburg filed anÂ amicus briefÂ and sat with counsel at oral argument forÂ Craig v. Boren,Â 429Â U.S.Â 190Â (1976), which challenged an Oklahoma statute that set different minimum drinking ages for men and women.Â For the first time, the court imposed what is known asÂ intermediate scrutinyÂ on laws discriminating based on gender, a heightened standard of Constitutional review.Â Her last case as a lawyer before the Supreme Court was 1978’sÂ Duren v. Missouri,Â 439Â U.S.Â 357 (1979), which challenged the validity of voluntaryÂ jury dutyÂ for women, on the ground that participation in jury duty was a citizen’s vital governmental service and therefore should not be optional for women. At the end of Ginsburg’s oral argument, then-Associate JusticeÂ William RehnquistÂ asked Ginsburg, “You won’t settle for puttingÂ Susan B. AnthonyÂ on the new dollar, then?”Â 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.Â Taken together, Ginsburg’s legal victories discouraged legislatures from treating women and men differently under the law.Â She continued to work on the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project until her appointment to the Federal Bench in 1980.Â Later, colleagueÂ Antonin ScaliaÂ praised Ginsburg’s skills as an advocate, “she became the leading (and very successful) litigator on behalf of women’s rightsâ€”theÂ Thurgood MarshallÂ of that cause, so to speak”. This was a comparison that had first been made by former Solicitor GeneralÂ Erwin GriswoldÂ who was also her former professor and dean at Harvard Law School, in a speech given in 1985.[d]
U.S. Court of Appeals
Ginsburg was nominated by PresidentÂ Jimmy CarterÂ on April 14, 1980, to a seat on theÂ United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia CircuitÂ vacated by JudgeÂ Harold LeventhalÂ after his death.Â She was confirmed by theÂ United States SenateÂ on June 18, 1980, and received her commission later that day.Â Her service terminated on August 9, 1993, due to her elevation to the United States Supreme Court.Â During her time as a judge on the DC Circuit, Ginsburg often found consensus with her colleagues including conservativesÂ Robert H. BorkÂ andÂ Antonin Scalia.Â Her time on the court earned her a reputation as a “cautious jurist” and a moderate.Â David S. TatelÂ replaced her after Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Nomination and confirmation
PresidentÂ Bill ClintonÂ nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on June 14, 1993, to fill the seat vacated by retiring JusticeÂ Byron White. Ginsburg was recommended to Clinton by then-U.S.Â Attorney GeneralÂ Janet RenoÂ after a suggestion
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Utah Republican SenatorÂ Orrin Hatch.Â At the time of her nomination, Ginsburg was viewed as a moderate. Clinton was reportedly looking to increase the court’s diversity, which Ginsburg did as the first Jewish justice since the 1969 resignation of JusticeÂ Abe Fortas. She was the second-ever female justice, and the first Jewish female justice.Â She eventually became the longest-serving Jewish justice ever.Â TheÂ American Bar Association’sÂ Standing Committee on the Federal JudiciaryÂ rated Ginsburg as “well
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
qualified”, its highest possible rating for a prospective justice.
During her subsequent testimony before theÂ United States Senate Committee on the JudiciaryÂ as part of theÂ confirmation hearings, she refused to answer questions about her view on the constitutionality of some issues such as theÂ death penaltyÂ as it was an issue that she might have to vote on if it came before the court.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
At the same time, Ginsburg did answer questions about some potentially controversial issues. For instance, she affirmed her belief in a constitutional right to privacy and explained at some length her personal judicial philosophy and thoughts regarding gender equality.:15â€“16Â Ginsburg was more forthright in discussing her views on topics about which she had previously written.Â TheÂ United States SenateÂ confirmed her by a 96 to 3 vote on August 3, 1993,[e]Â she received her commission on August 5, 1993,Â and she took her judicial oath on August 10, 1993.
Ginsburg’s name was later invoked during the confirmation process ofÂ John Roberts. Ginsburg herself was not the first nominee to avoid answering certain specific questions before Congress,[f]Â and as a young lawyer in 1981 Roberts had advised against Supreme Court nominees’ giving specific responses.Â Nevertheless, some conservative commentators and Senators invoked the phrase “Ginsburg precedent” to defend his demurrers.Â In a September 28, 2005, speech atÂ Wake Forest University, Ginsburg said that Roberts’ refusal to answer questions during his Senate confirmation hearings on some cases was “unquestionably right”.
Supreme Court jurisprudence
Ginsburg characterizes her performance on the court as a cautious approach to adjudication.Â She argued in a speech shortly before her nomination to the court thatÂ “[m]easuredÂ motions seem to me right, in the main, for constitutional as well as common law adjudication. Doctrinal limbs too swiftly shaped, experience teaches, may prove unstable.”Â Legal scholarÂ Cass SunsteinÂ has characterized Ginsburg as a “rational minimalist”, a jurist who seeks to build cautiously on precedent rather than pushing the Constitution towards her own vision.:10â€“11
The retirement ofÂ Justice Sandra Day O’ConnorÂ in 2006 left Ginsburg as the only woman on the court.[g]Â Linda GreenhouseÂ ofÂ The New York TimesÂ referred to the subsequentÂ 2006â€“2007 termÂ of the court as “the time when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found her voice, and used it”.Â The term also marked the first time in Ginsburg’s history with the court where she read multiple dissents from the bench, a tactic employed to signal more intense disagreement with the majority.
With the retirement of JusticeÂ John Paul Stevens, Ginsburg became the senior member of what is sometimes referred to as the court’s “liberal wing”.Â When the court splits 5â€“4 along ideological lines and the liberal justices are in the minority, Ginsburg often has the authority to assign authorship of theÂ dissenting opinionÂ because of her seniority.[h]Â Ginsburg has been a proponent of the liberal dissenters speaking “with one voice” and, where practicable, presenting a unified approach to which all of the dissenting justices can agree.
Ginsburg discussed her views on abortion and sexual equality in a 2009Â New York TimesÂ interview, in which she said about abortion that “[t]he basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman”.Â Although Ginsburg has consistently supportedÂ abortion rightsÂ and joined in the court’s opinion striking downÂ Nebraska‘sÂ partial-birth abortionÂ law inÂ Stenberg v. CarhartÂ 530Â U.S.Â 914 (2000), on the 40th anniversary of the court’s ruling inÂ Roe v. WadeÂ 410Â U.S.Â 113 (1973), she criticized the decision in Roe as terminating a nascent democratic movement to liberalize abortion laws which might have built a more durable consensus in support of abortion rights.Â Ginsburg was in the minority forÂ Gonzales v. Carhart,Â 550Â U.S.Â 124 (2007), a 5â€“4 decision upholding restrictions on partial birth abortion. In her dissent, Ginsburg opposed the majority’s decision to defer to legislative findings that the procedure was not safe for women. Ginsburg focused her ire on the way Congress reached its findings and with the veracity of the findings.Â Joining the majority forÂ Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt,Â 579Â U.S.Â 15-274 (2016), a case which struck down parts of a 2013 Texas law regulating abortion providers, Ginsburg also authored a short concurring opinion which was even more critical of the legislation at issue.Â She asserted the legislation was not aimed at protecting women’s health, as Texas had claimed, but rather to impede women’s access to abortions.
Ginsburg authored the court’s opinion inÂ United States v. Virginia,Â 518Â U.S.Â 515 (1996), which struck down theÂ Virginia Military Institute‘s (VMI) male-only admissions policy as violating the Equal Protection Clause of theÂ Fourteenth Amendment. VMI is a prestigious, state-run, military-inspired institution that did not admit women. For Ginsburg, a state actor such as VMI could not use gender to deny women the opportunity to attend VMI with its unique educational methods.Â Ginsburg emphasized that the government must show an “exceedingly persuasive justification” to use a classification based on sex.
Ginsburg dissented in the court’s decision onÂ Ledbetter v. Goodyear,Â 550Â U.S.Â 618 (2007), a case where plaintiffÂ Lilly LedbetterÂ filed a lawsuit against her employer claiming pay discrimination based on her gender under Title VII of theÂ Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a 5â€“4 decision, the majority interpreted theÂ statute of limitationsÂ as starting to run at the time of every pay period, even if a woman did not know she was being paid less than her male colleague until later. Ginsburg found the result absurd, pointing out that women often do not know they are being paid less, and therefore it was unfair to expect them to act at the time of each paycheck. She also called attention to the reluctance women may have in male-dominated fields to making waves by filing lawsuits over small amounts, choosing instead to wait until the disparity accumulates.Â As part of her dissent, Ginsburg called on Congress to amend Title VII to undo the court’s decision with legislation.Â Following the election ofÂ President Barack ObamaÂ in 2008, theÂ Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier for employees to win pay discrimination claims, became law.Â Ginsburg was credited with helping to inspire the law.
Search and seizure
Although Ginsburg did not author the majority opinion, she was credited with influencing her colleagues on the caseÂ Safford Unified School District v. Redding,Â 557Â U.S.Â 364 (2009).Â The court ruled that a school went too far in ordering a 13-year-old female student to strip to her bra and underpants so female officials could search for drugs.Â In an interview published prior to the court’s decision, Ginsburg shared her view that some of her colleagues did not fully appreciate the effect of a strip search on a 13-year-old girl. As she pointed out, “They have never been a 13-year-old girl.”Â In an 8â€“1 decision, the court agreed that the school’s search went too far and violated the Fourth Amendment and allowed the student’s lawsuit against the school to go forward. Only Ginsburg and Stevens would have allowed the student to sue individual school officials as well.
InÂ Herring v. United States,Â 555Â U.S.Â 135 (2009), Ginsburg dissented from the court’s decision not to suppress evidence due to a police officer’s failure to update a computer system. In contrast to Roberts’ emphasis on suppression as a means to deter police misconduct, Ginsburg took a more robust view on the use of suppression as a remedy for a violation of a defendant’sÂ Fourth AmendmentÂ rights. Ginsburg viewed suppression as a way to prevent the government from profiting from mistakes, and therefore as a remedy to preserve judicial integrity and respect civil rights.:308Â She also rejected Roberts’ assertion that suppression would not deter mistakes, contending making police pay a high price for mistakes would encourage them to take greater care.:309
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ginsburg has also advocated the use of foreign law and norms to shape U.S. law in judicial opinions; this was a view that was not shared by some of her conservative colleagues. Ginsburg supports using foreign interpretations of law for persuasive value and possible
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
wisdom, not as precedent which the court is bound to follow.Â Ginsburg has expressed the view that consulting international law is a well-ingrained tradition in American law, countingÂ John Henry WigmoreÂ and PresidentÂ John AdamsÂ as internationalists.Â Ginsburg’s own reliance on international law dates back to her time as an attorney; in her first argument before the court,Â Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971), she cited two
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
German cases.Â In her concurring opinion inÂ Grutter v. Bollinger,Â 539 U.S. 306Â (2003), a decision upholding Michigan Law School’s affirmative action admissions policy, Ginsburg noted there was accord between the notion that affirmative action admissions policies would have an end point and agrees with international treaties designed to combat racial and gender based discrimination.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- United States v. Virginia,Â 518Â U.S.Â 515Â (1996) Court Opinion
- United States v. O’Hagan,Â 521Â U.S.Â 642Â (1997) Court Opinion
- Olmstead v. L.C.,Â 527Â U.S.Â 581Â (1999) Court Opinion
- Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.,Â 528Â U.S.Â 167Â (2000) Court Opinion
- Bush v. Gore,Â 531Â U.S.Â 98Â (2000) Dissenting
- Eldred v. Ashcroft,Â 537Â U.S.Â 186 (2003) Court Opinion
- Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp.,Â 544Â U.S.Â 280Â (2005) Court Opinion
- Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.,Â 550Â U.S.Â 618Â (2007) Dissenting
- Gonzales v. Carhart,Â 550Â U.S.Â 124Â (2007) Dissenting
- Ricci v. DeStefano,Â 557Â U.S.Â 557Â (2009) Dissenting
- National Federation of Independent Business v. SebeliusÂ 567Â U.S.Â 519Â (2012) Concurring in part, dissenting in part, from the Court’s Opinion
- Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.,Â 573Â U.S.Â ___Â (2014) Dissenting
At his request, Ginsburg administeredÂ Vice PresidentÂ Al Gore‘sÂ oath of officeÂ to a second term during theÂ second inauguration of Bill ClintonÂ on January 20, 1997.Â She was the third woman to administer an inaugural oath of office.Â Ginsburg is believed to be the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding, performing the August 31, 2013, ceremony ofÂ Kennedy CenterÂ PresidentÂ Michael KaiserÂ and John Roberts, a government economist.Â Earlier that summer, the court had bolstered same-sex marriage rights in two separate cases.Â Ginsburg believed the issue being settled led same-sex couples to ask her to officiate as there was no longer the fear of compromising rulings on the issue.
The Supreme Court bar formerly inscribed its certificates “in the year of our Lord”, which some Orthodox Jews opposed, and asked Ginsburg to object to. She did so, and due to her objection, Supreme Court bar members have since been given other choices of how to inscribe the year on their certificates.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Despite their ideological differences, Ginsburg considered Scalia her closest colleague on the court. The two justices often dined and attended the opera together.Â In her spare time, Ginsburg has appeared in several operas in non-speakingÂ supernumeraryÂ roles such asÂ Die FledermausÂ (2003) andÂ Ariadne auf NaxosÂ (1994 with Scalia, and 2009), and spoke lines penned by herself inÂ The Daughter of the RegimentÂ (2016).
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In January 2012, Ginsburg went to Egypt for four days of discussions with judges, law school faculty, law school students, and legal experts.Â In an interview withÂ Al Hayat TV, she stated that the first requirement of a new constitution should be that it would “safeguard basic fundamental human rights like ourÂ First Amendment“. Asked if Egypt
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
should model its new constitution on those of other nations, she said Egypt should be “aided by all Constitution-writing that has gone on since the end of World War II”, she cited the United States Constitution andÂ Constitution of South AfricaÂ as documents she might look to if drafting a new constitution. She said the U.S. was fortunate to have a constitution authored by “very wise” men but pointed out that in the 1780s, no women were able to participate directly in the process, and slavery still existed in the U.S.
During three separate interviews that were conducted in July 2016, Ginsburg criticizedÂ presumptiveÂ Republican presidential nomineeÂ Donald Trump, tellingÂ The New York TimesÂ and theÂ Associated PressÂ that she did not want to think about the possibility of aÂ Trump presidency. She joked that she might consider moving toÂ New Zealand.Â She later apologized for commenting on theÂ presumptive Republican nominee, calling her remarks “ill advised”.
Ginsburg’s first book,Â My Own WordsÂ published byÂ Simon & Schuster, was released October 4, 2016.Â The book debuted on theÂ New York TimesÂ Best Seller ListÂ for hardcover
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
nonfiction at No.Â 12.Â While promoting her book in October 2016 during an interview withÂ Katie Couric, Ginsburg responded to a question aboutÂ Colin KaepernickÂ choosing not to stand for theÂ national anthemÂ at sporting events callingÂ the protestÂ “really dumb”. She later apologized for her criticism calling her earlier comments “inappropriately dismissive and harsh” and noting she had not been familiar with the incident and should have declined to respond to the question.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In 2018, Ginsburg expressed her support for theÂ #MeToo movement, which encourages women to speak up about their experiences with sexual harassment.Â She told an audience, “It’s about time. For so long women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could do about it, but now the law is on the side of women, or men, who encounter
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
harassment and that’s a good thing.”Â She also reflected on her own experiences with gender discrimination and sexual harassment, including a time when a chemistry professor at Cornell unsuccessfully attempted to trade her exam answers for sex.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A few days after Bader graduated from Cornell, she married Martin D. Ginsburg, who later became an internationally prominent tax lawyer. Upon her accession to the D.C. Circuit, the couple moved from New York to Washington, D.C., where her husband became professor of law atÂ Georgetown University Law Center. Their daughter,Â Jane C. GinsburgÂ (b. 1955), is a professor at Columbia Law School. Their son,Â James Steven GinsburgÂ (b. 1965), is the founder and president ofÂ Cedille Records, aÂ classical musicÂ recording company based in Chicago, Illinois. Ginsburg is a grandmother of four.
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After the birth of their daughter, her husband was diagnosed withÂ 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 husbandâ€”all while making theÂ 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.Â They spoke publicly of being in aÂ shared earning/shared parenting marriageÂ including in a speech Martin Ginsburg wrote and had intended to give before his death that Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered posthumously.
Although Bader was raised in a Jewish home, she became non-observant when she was excluded from theÂ minyanÂ for mourners after the death of her mother. There was a “house full of women”, but Bader, as a woman, was excluded. Orthodox Judaism requires that 10 Jewish men (over the age of 13) be present for a minyan, and women are excluded from being counted. She notes that her attitude might be different, following her attendance at a bat mitzvah ceremony in a more liberal stream of Judaism where the rabbi andÂ cantorÂ were both women.Â In March 2015, Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt released “The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover”, an essay highlighting the roles of five key women in the saga: “These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.”Â In addition, she decorates her chambers with an artist’s rendering of the Hebrew phrase from Deuteronomy, “Zedek, zedek, tirdof“, (“Justice, justice shall you pursue”) as a reminder of her heritage and professional responsibility.
Following her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993, Ginsburg deviated from court tradition by wearing a FrenchÂ robe d’avocat, as opposed to the traditional American judicial robe. The French robe differs from the American with its exposed buttons, open sleeves, standing collar, and whiteÂ rabat. On the left shoulder of the robe are two buttons intended for the fastening of anÂ epitoge, traditionally worn by French lawyers. In later years, Ginsburg would shift from the traditionally uniform white French rabat and begin wearing more varied and fanciful jabots, necklaces, and other forms of neckwear. Some time later, fellow female Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor would follow Ginsburg’s lead and begin wearing the FrenchÂ robe d’avocatÂ as well.
Ginsburg has a collection of laceÂ jabotsÂ from around the world.Â She stated in 2014 that she has a particular jabot that she wears when issuing her dissents (black with gold embroidery and faceted stones) as well as another she wears when issuing majority opinions (crocheted yellow and cream with crystals), which was a gift from her law clerks.Â Her favorite jabot (woven with white beads) is from Cape Town, South Africa.
In 1999, Ginsburg was diagnosed withÂ colon cancer; she underwent surgery that was followed by chemotherapy andÂ radiation therapy. During the process, she did not miss a day on the bench.Â Ginsburg was physically weakened by the cancer treatment, and she began working with a personal trainer. Since 1999, Bryant Johnson, a former Army reservist attached to the Special Forces, has trained Ginsburg twice weekly in the justices-only gym at the Supreme Court.Â In spite of her small stature, Ginsburg saw her physical fitness improve since her first bout with cancer; she was able to complete 20 push-ups in a session before her 80th birthday.
Nearly a decade after her first bout with cancer, she again underwent surgery on February 5, 2009, this time forÂ pancreatic cancer.Â Ginsburg had a tumor that was discovered at an early stage.Â She was released from a New York City hospital on February 13 and returned to the bench when the Supreme Court went back into session on February 23, 2009.Â After experiencing discomfort while exercising in the Supreme Court gym in November 2014, she had aÂ stentÂ placed in her right coronary artery.
Ginsburg’s next hospitalization would help her detect another round of cancer.Â On November 8, 2018, Ginsburg fell in her office at the Supreme Court,Â fracturing three ribs, for which she was hospitalized.Â An outpouring of public support followed.Â Although the day after her fall, Ginsburg’s nephew revealed she had already returned to official judicial work after a day of observation,Â aÂ CT scanÂ of her ribs following her November 8 fall showed cancerous nodules in her lungs.Â On December 21, Ginsburg underwent a left-lungÂ lobectomyÂ atÂ Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterÂ to remove the nodules.Â For the first time since joining the Court more than 25 years earlier, Ginsburg missed oral argument on January 7, 2019 while she recuperated.Â She returned to the Supreme Court on February 15 to participate in a private conference with other justices in her first appearance at the court since her cancer surgery in December 2018.
Months later in August 2019, the Supreme Court announced that Ginsburg had recently completed three weeks of focused radiation treatment toÂ ablateÂ a tumor found in her pancreas over the summer.Â On January 7, 2020, Ginsburg reported that she is cancer free.
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