I’m eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to study Constitutional Law with Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the Summer of 1996. She remains a great inspiration to me, inspiring me to share some of her contributions with you today. She’s a groundbreaking lawyer, women’s rights activist and Supreme Court Justice that’s changed the World.
Early Life and Career
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn in 1933, daughter of a furrier and a garment worker. She was an exceptional student, graduating first in her class from Cornell, and from there she became one of the few women in her class at Harvard Law School. Later she became the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. She married Martin Ginsburg, also an attorney, who shared responsibility for caring for the couple’s children and household. After spending some time teaching, she went on to serve as the director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, arguing six landmark cases on gender equality before the Supreme Court.
The Road To The Supreme Court
She was appointed by President Carter to serve in the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980, and by President Clinton to serve on the Supreme court in 1993. In 1996, she was the author of the landmark decision in, United States v. Virginia, holding that the Virginia Military Institute must allow women to be admitted. In 1999, The American Bar Association honored her with the Thurgood Marshall award for her contributions to civil rights and gender equality.
Ruth in the 21st Century
In 2000, she wrote a dissent in the case that effectively decided the election in favor of George W. Bush. When Obamacare was attacked on Constitutional grounds, she was part of the majority that saved the healthcare plan. She cast a vote with the majority legalizing same sex marriage, an issue she’s strongly supported for many years, sometimes officiating at gay marriages. Ginsburg’s been an outspoken opponent of President Trump, often a thorn in his side. Just this week, Trump suggested that she recuse herself in an abortion case. What do you think she’s going to do?