- Ginsburg, Ruth Bader
orig. Ruth Joan Baderborn March 15, 1933, Brooklyn, N.Y., N.Y., U.S.U.S. jurist.Although she graduated at the top of her class at Columbia Law School (1959), she was turned down for numerous jobs because of her gender. From 1972 to 1980 she taught at Columbia, where she became the first tenured female professor. As director of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, she argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1980 she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and in 1993 she was appointed by Pres. Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court as only its second female justice. A member of the court's minority moderate-liberal bloc, she favoured caution, moderation, and restraint.
* * *▪ 1994On June 14, 1993, at a White House press conference held in the Rose Garden, Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood with U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton as he nominated her to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. In her acceptance speech Ginsburg, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals since 1980 and a pioneer in equal-rights litigation, spoke of her own struggles with discrimination as a woman in the legal profession. In tribute to her mother, Celia, who had died the day before Ginsburg's high school graduation, she said, "I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons." When the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination in late summer, this "daughter of the revolution" became the 107th justice—and only the second woman in history—to sit on the nation's highest court.Ruth Joan Bader was born in New York City on March 15, 1933, and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. She graduated from James Madison High School at age 17 and in the fall of 1950 entered Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., where she met her future husband, Martin Ginsburg. The couple married in 1954, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Jane, the following year, and in 1956 attended Harvard Law School together. There Ginsburg was one of nine women in a class of some 500 students. She moved back to New York in 1958 after her husband landed a job with a law firm there and completed her degree at Columbia Law School, tying for first-place honours in her class. Despite her meritorious achievement, not one law firm offered her a job.After clerking for a federal judge, Ginsburg worked on an international law project that resulted in three books on Swedish legal procedure and Scandinavian law. In 1963 she started teaching at Rutgers Law School, Newark, N.J., but she hid her second pregnancy (resulting in the birth of her son, James, in 1965) because she feared that she would lose her position. In 1972 Ginsburg headed the American Civil Liberties Union's women's rights project and became Columbia's first tenured female faculty member.A reserved but determined crusader for equal rights, Ginsburg earned a reputation as the "Thurgood Marshall of gender-equality law" after winning five of the six cases she argued before the Supreme Court in the 1970s. In addition to litigating women's issues such as gender discrimination, Ginsburg sued on behalf of men in some cases, arguing, for example, that husbands of women in the military deserve all the benefits that wives of men in the military receive.By the summer of 1993 it was widely known that Ginsburg had an overriding interest in equal rights under the law. It was unknown to many, however, that she had a passion for opera and had planned to appear as an extra at the Washington Opera in the fall of 1993—until Clinton chose her to play a bigger, better, and much more important role. (EDWARD PAUL MORAGNE)
* * *▪ United States juristnée Ruth Joan Baderborn March 15, 1933, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993. She was only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.Ginsburg graduated from Cornell University in 1954, finishing first in her class. She attended Harvard Law School, where she was elected president of her class, for two years before transferring to Columbia Law School to join her husband, who had been hired by a prestigious law firm in New York City. She was elected to the law reviews of both schools and graduated tied for first in her class at Columbia in 1959. Despite her outstanding academic record, Ginsburg was turned down for numerous jobs after graduation because she was a woman.After clerking for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri (1959–61), she 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 Supreme Court. She won five of those cases and thereby helped establish the unconstitutionality of unequal treatment of men and women.In 1980 President Jimmy Carter (Carter, Jimmy) appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals (United States Court of Appeals) for the District of Columbia Circuit. She served there until she was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton (Clinton, Bill) to fill the seat vacated by Justice Byron White (White, Byron R.); she was easily confirmed by the Senate (96–3).As a lawyer, Ginsburg had been known for her pioneering advocacy of the rights of women (women's movement). As a judge, she favoured caution, moderation, and restraint. She was considered part of the Supreme Court's minority moderate-liberal bloc.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. Despite her reputation for restrained writing, she gathered considerable attention for her dissenting opinion in the case of Bush (Bush v. Gore) v. Gore, which effectively decided the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush (Bush, George W.) and Al Gore (Gore, Al). Objecting to the court's majority opinion favouring Bush, Ginsburg deliberately and subtly concluded her decision with the words, “I dissent”—a significant departure from the tradition of including the adverb respectfully.Brian P. Smentkowski
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