- 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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However, Ginsburg also believed that the law was gender-blind and all groups were entitled to equal rights. One of the five cases she won before the Supreme Court involved a portion of the Social Security Act that favored women over men because it granted certain benefits to widows but not widowers.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there until she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, selected to fill the seat vacated by Justice Byron White. President Clinton wanted a replacement with the intellect and political skills to deal with the more conservative members of the Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings were unusually friendly, despite frustration expressed by some senators over Ginsburg's evasive answers to hypothetical situations. Several expressed concerned over how she could transition from social advocate to Supreme Court Justice. In the end, she was easily confirmed by the Senate, 96-3.
As a judge, Ruth Ginsburg favors caution, moderation and restraint. She is considered part of the Supreme Court's moderate-liberal bloc presenting a strong voice in favor of gender equality, the rights of workers and the separation of church and state. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court's landmark decision in United States v. Virginia, which held that the state-supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. In 1999, she won the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.
Despite her reputation for restrained writing, she gathered considerable attention for her dissenting opinion in the case of Bush v. Gore, which effectively decided the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Objecting to the court's majority opinion favoring Bush, Ginsburg deliberately and subtly concluded her decision with the words, "I dissent"—a significant departure from the tradition of including the adverb "respectfully." She continues to promote women's rights from the high court and will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in many controversial cases to come.
On June 27, 2010, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's husband, Martin, died of cancer. She described Martin as her biggest booster and "the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain." Married for 56 years, the relationship between Ruth and Martin was said to differ from the norm: Martin was gregarious, loved to entertain and tell jokes while Ginsburg was serious, soft-spoken and shy.
Martin provided a reason for their successful union: "My wife doesn't give me any advice about cooking and I don't give her any advice about the law." Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to serve on the High Court, and will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in many controversial cases in the future. A day after her husband's death, she was at work on the Court for the last day of the 2010 term.
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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.
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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.
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