- NAME: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- OCCUPATION: Supreme Court Justice
- BIRTH DATE: March 15, 1933 (Age: 80)
- EDUCATION: Cornell University, Harvard University, James Madison High School, Columbia Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
- Maiden Name: Ruth Joan Bader
- Full Name: Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg
- AKA: Ruth Ginsburg
- AKA: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- AKA: Ruth Bader
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, the second woman to be appointed to the position.
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Born on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from Columbia Law School, going on to become a staunch courtroom advocate for the fair treatment of women and working with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. She was appointed by President Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980 and was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993.
Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg was born Ruth Joan Bader on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. The second daughter of Nathan and Cecelia Bader, she grew up in a low-income, working class neighborhood in Brooklyn. Ginsburg's mother, who was a major influence in her life, taught her the value of independence and a good education.
Cecelia herself did not attend college, but instead worked in a garment factory to help pay for her brother's college education, an act of selflessness that forever impressed Ginsburg. At James Madison High School in Brooklyn, Ginsburg worked diligently and excelled in her studies. Sadly, her mother struggled with cancer throughout Ginsburg's high school years, and died the day before Ginsburg's graduation.
Ginsburg graduated from Cornell University in 1954, finishing first in her class. She married Martin D. Ginsburg, also a law student, that same year. The early years of their marriage were challenging, as their first child, Jane, was born shortly after Martin was drafted into the military in 1954. He served for two years and, after his discharge, the couple returned to Harvard where Ginsburg also enrolled.
At Harvard, Ginsburg learned to balance life as a mother and her new role as a law student. She also encountered a very male-dominated, hostile environment, with only eight females in her class of 500. The women were chided by the law school's dean for taking the places of qualified males. But Ginsburg pressed on and excelled academically, eventually becoming the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.
Then, another challenge: Martin contracted testicular cancer in 1956, requiring intensive treatment and rehabilitation. Ruth Ginsburg attended to her young daughter and convalescing husband, taking notes for him in classes while she continued her own law studies. Martin recovered, graduated from law school, and accepted a position at a New York law firm.
Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School in New York City to join her husband, where she was elected to the school's law review. She graduated first in her class in 1959. Despite her outstanding academic record, however, Ginsburg continued to encounter gender discrimination while seeking employment after graduation.
After clerking for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri (1959-'61), Ginsburg taught at Rutgers University Law School (1963-'72) and at Columbia (1972-'80), where she became the school's first female, tenured professor. During the 1970s, she also served as the director of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, for which she argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Despite all sorts of institutional obstacles, women have continued to reach stratospheric levels of success in a full gamut of professional pursuits, whether as scientists, scribes, educators, governmental leaders, athletes, designers, film directors or performers. Learn more about the plethora of triumphs obtained by our group of trailblazers.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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