Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Cooper Ams, Co-Editor

This past weekend, American hearts across the country mourned the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg was a pioneer for women’s rights in America and was a true believer in equality. 


Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in a Jewish household with her father, who immigrated from Odessa, Ukraine, and her mother, who was born in New York. Ginsburg’s mother played an active role in Ruth’s education by taking her to the library quite often. Ginsburg’s education allowed her to attend James Madison High School to study law. In honor of the great student that Ginsburg was, James Madison High School named one of their courtrooms after her. After graduating high school, Ginsburg moved on to Cornell to further her education. This is where she met her future husband, Martin D. Ginsburg. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Cornell. After graduating from college, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband moved to Oklahoma, where she worked for the Social Security Administration. She was soon demoted after becoming pregnant with her first child in 1955. After the birth of her child, she decided to return to school and enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1956, where she was one of only nine women in a class of about 500 men. Ginsburg decided later to transfer to Columbia Law School, where she became the first woman ever to be on two major law reviews: The Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. In 1959, she graduated from Columbia with a law degree. 


In 1960, Ginsburg applied for a clerkship position at the Supreme Court but was denied by justice Felix Frankfurter because of her gender. Her previous professors at her law schools, however, pushed for her to be able to get the job. Ginsburg was finally given the opportunity later that year and held the position for two years. Ginsburg left her clerkship position to become a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963. In 1970, Ginsburg decided to start a law journal that focused on women’s rights in the United States, calling it the Women’s Rights Law Report. This was one of Ginsburg’s first pushes for equality between men and women. She continued to fight for equality for many years.


In 1993, Supreme Court Justice Byron White retired, leaving President Bill Clinton with an open seat in the Supreme Court that needed to be filled. The US Attorney General, Janet Reno, suggested to President Clinton that Ginsburg would be a great fit. On June 22, 1993, Clinton nominated Ginsburg to fill Byron White’s seat. After that, Ginsburg became one of the most well known Supreme Court Justices of all time, becoming the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and the first Jewish woman to serve. Ginsburg was a vocal leader in ruling certain cases, such as the United States v. Virginia. In the United States v. Virginia case, the court, led by Ginsburg, sided against the Virginia Military Institute and declared their rule of only letting males into the institute as unconstitutional.


Ginsburg served on the court for 27 years, despite being diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009. Ginsburg continued her fight against pancreatic cancer for nearly eleven years after her diagnosis but sadly lost the battle on Friday, September 18, 2020. The flags have been ordered to fly at half staff on the day of her burial until sunset to pay respect. Ginsburg was and continues to be an inspiration to all due to her position in the women’s rights movement and her many pushes for equality.