Ginsburg, Justice Ruth Bader | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, was an Associate Supreme Court Justice known for her liberal voting tendencies.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was more than just a name. She was a force to be reckoned with, known for her brilliant legal mind, her staunch advocacy for women’s rights, and her enduring role as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Early Life and Career

Born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, Ginsburg faced adversity from an early age, but she never let it deter her. She attended Cornell University, where she excelled academically. Then, despite the hurdles women faced in the 1950s, Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard Law School as one of only nine women in a class of over 500.

Her career began in academia, where she taught at Rutgers Law School and then at Columbia Law School. Ginsburg also served as a general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she worked tirelessly to advance civil liberties and equal rights.

Journey to the Supreme Court

Ginsburg’s path to the Supreme Court was not immediate, but her commitment to justice never wavered. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until 1993.

In 1993, Ginsburg’s lifelong work was recognized by President Bill Clinton, who nominated her to the Supreme Court. She was confirmed by the Senate in a 96-3 vote, marking the beginning of her tenure as an Associate Supreme Court Justice.

Legacy on the Supreme Court

As a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg was known for her liberal-leaning. She advocated for gender equality, women’s rights, and civil liberties, making her a strong voice for the liberal bloc of the court.

Her notable opinions include the United States v. Virginia case, where she argued against the Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admission policy, and the Olmstead v. L.C. case, which advanced the rights of people with mental disabilities.

Impact and Legacy

Throughout her tenure on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg made a profound impact on American law and society. She consistently used her platform to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

Ginsburg’s unwavering commitment to justice, her ability to dissent, and her legendary status in American culture earned her a devoted following. Nicknamed the “Notorious R.B.G.” in popular culture, Ginsburg became a symbol of resistance and a role model for young women and aspiring lawyers.

Final Years and Legacy

Ginsburg served on the Supreme Court until her death in September 2020. She left a significant legacy, not just through her judicial opinions but through the trail she blazed for women and minorities in the legal field.

Ginsburg once said, “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Her lifelong dedication to justice exemplifies these words, making her a pivotal figure in American history. Her unwavering dedication to equal rights, her enduring role on the Supreme Court, and her ability to dissent made her a respected and revered figure in the American justice system.

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Last Modified: 05/21/2023

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