The Ladies – We Love the Notorious RBG – Facts About Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Welcome to The Ladies for September 21, 2020! The Ladies is a women’s blog and lifestyle brand bringing curated articles on timely topics relevant to women and girls around the world — sprinkled with tidbits on things to do/see/read/buy. Subscribe to the newsletter here and post your comments below! In this post I am covering facts to know about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I am mourning the loss of the famed Supreme Court justice, along with the rest of the country. I wrote a bit about getting the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing on my other blog. I received many letters of support after putting the post up, some by readers who had been directly impacted by RBG or worked with her. I have such an interesting readership. Here are some of the things about Ruth that always impressed me:
-Ruth attended Cornell University on a full scholarship.
-She married a classmate, Martin “Marty” Ginsburg, who always supported Ruth’s intellectual pursuits.
-Ruth started her studies at Harvard Law School, after she and Marty had their first child, Jane. While Ruth completed her coursework and served on the editorial staff of the Harvard Law Review (she was the first woman to do so), she acted as caregiver not only to Jane but also to Martin, who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Because Marty got a job that required them to move to New York, Ruth finished her legal education at Columbia Law School. While there, she served on the law review and graduated in a tie for first place in her class in 1959. Even with her legal credentials, she found it hard as a woman and mother to find employment as a lawer in NY. However she persevered and landed a clerkship and the rest is history.
-In the 60’s and early ’70’s, she was a professor at the Rutgers University School of Law (when hired there she was asked by the dean of the school to accept a low salary because of her husband’s well paying job).
-She worked for gender equality, and it wasn’t only for women that she did this! She wrote legal briefs for the ACLU, one was involving a provision of the federal tax code that denied single men a tax deduction for serving as caregivers to their families. The second involved an Idaho state law that expressly preferred men to women in determining who should administer the estates of people who die without a will (see intestate succession). The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the latter case, Reed v. Reed (1971), was the first in which a gender-based statute was struck down on the basis of the equal protection clause.
-In the 70’s she was a professor at Columbia University School of Law. She is the first woman to be hired with tenure at Columbia University School of Law.
-She was general counsel for the ACLU. Also, during the 70’s she was a pioneer in gender discrimination litigation. In 1972 she became founding counsel of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and coauthored a law-school casebook on gender discrimination. She authored dozens of law review articles and drafted or contributed to many Supreme Court briefs on the issue of gender discrimination. During the decade, she argued before the Supreme Court six times, winning five cases.
-She was a fellow at Stanford University
-She was a Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
-She was the second woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court
-While on the court, Ginsburg wrote the majority’s opinion in United States v. Virginia (1996), which held that the men-only admission policy of a state-run university, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), violated the equal protection clause. Rejecting VMI’s contention that its program of military-focused education was unsuitable for women, Ginsburg noted that the program was in fact unsuitable for the vast majority of Virginia college students regardless of gender. “[G]eneralizations about ‘the way women are,’ estimates of what is appropriate for most women, no longer justify denying opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description,” she wrote.
-She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame
-She was able to respectfully disagree: In a speech at Suffolk Law School in 2007, Ginsburg tells the audience that she dislikes being the only woman on the Supreme Court. Ginsburg says she has disagreed with former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “on a lot of important questions, but we have had the experience of growing up women and we have certain sensitivities that our male colleagues lack.” In fact, Ginsburg was close friends with a number of the more conservative judges, Justice Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist.
-She argued for equal pay for women in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire
-In 2010 she receives the American Bar Assocation’s highest medal, the ABA medal
-In 2019 she wins the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture for her contributions to social justice. She planned to donate the $1 million prize to a number of organizations that promote opportunities for women.
-In late August 2020, shortly before her death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is selected as the recipient of the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal, “for her efforts to advance liberty and equality for all”
She was a trooper in her battle against cancer throughout her career – she was treated multiple times for colon cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. Talk about not being one to complain!
She fought tirelessly for women’s rights, and for that, we love her.