Ruth Bader was born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933. Her father was a furrier and her mother a garment factory worker who instilled the need for education in her daughter.
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.“
Ruth excelled in her studies throughout her school years and attended Cornell University, where she met her beloved husband, Martin Ginsburg. From Cornell she studied at Harvard Law being one of the nine females in the class of 500. She was the first female on the Harvard Law Review of this male dominated college.
Many challenges occurred during this time as her husband was diagnosed with cancer and she was caring for a newborn as well. Upon Martin’s recovery he accepted a job in New York City with Ruth following. She completed her last year of law school at Columbia University graduating first in her class in 1959.
Facing gender discrimination she was unable to obtain a law position upon graduation. She became a judge law clerk, with her following positions in faculty positions at Rutger’s and Columbia Law School. Later she became general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union arguing 6 cases before the Supreme Court.
Known for her slow, steady, and calculated approach she became known for her expertise in sex discrimination cases. President Jimmy Carter tapped her in 1980 for a position on the US Court of Appeals and later in 1992 President Bill Clinton appointed her as the second female to the US Supreme Court.
While 87 years young she continues to work tirelessly at her position. She has overcome several bouts of cancer and regularly works out.
A lover of opera she often attends with her children. In her years on the Supreme Court she has never missed a day even with the death of her husband, and her own chemotherapy appointments. Known as a force to be reckoned with her nickname is, “The Notorious RBG.”