“Justice, justice, thou shalt pursue,” the Old Testament words Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg keeps on the wall of her chambers, epitomize the outlook and achievement of this distinguished jurist. Ginsburg has worked her entire career to eliminate gender-based stereotyping in legislation and regulations. Appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President William Clinton in 1993, she is the second woman to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court in its 212 year history.
After graduating from Cornell University in 1954 with highest honors in government, Justice Bader Ginsburg attended Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School, making Law Review in both and graduating at the top of the class at Columbia. Despite these excellent academic credentials, Bader Ginsburg had difficulty finding a job in the male-dominated law profession. She began her career by serving a clerkship in the United States District Court of Appeals in New York, continued by teaching at Rutgers University School of Law, and then at Columbia Law School, where she became the school’s first tenured female professor.
Her teaching and litigation on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she headed the Women’s Rights Project, drew national attention. In 1971, she helped write the ACLU brief in Reed vs. Reed, a case argued before the Supreme Court that involved discrimination against women in awarding the administration of a child’s estate. The Court struck down the state law that favored men over women as estate administrators.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where she served until her 1993 appointment to the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg has become known for her scholarly, balanced opinions and forthright personal courage. A cancer survivor herself, she has assisted thousands by her example of frank discussion of the state of her health and early diagnosis.