Happy Birthday Ruth Bader Ginsburg!
Today, March 15th marks the day of a momentous occasion; Ruth Bader Ginsburg turns 82!
Ginsburg, or the Notorious RBG, is the second woman to ever be appointed to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and is now also the oldest, luckily with no signs of slowing.
Born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York Ginsburg grew up in a working class family. Her mother was a hard-working woman who stressed the importance of education to Ginsburg at a very young age. Ginsburg graduated first in her class from Cornell University in 1954.
That same year she married Martin Ginsburg. Their first child was born very soon after Martin was drafted into the army. After his discharge two years later Ginsburg and her husband were able to enroll at Harvard.
At Harvard, Ginsburg learned to balance life as a mother and her new role as a law student. She also encountered a very male-dominated, hostile environment, with only eight females in her class of 500. The women were chided by the law school’s dean for taking the places of qualified males. But Ginsburg pressed on and excelled academically, eventually becoming the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.
Not only was Ginsburg struggling with the hostile school environment but during her education her husband became very ill. She continued her schooling, took care of her husband and her daughter and not wanting her husband to fall behind in school took notes for him in classes.
After her husband recovered and took a job at a New York law firm Ginsburg transferred to join him, enrolled in Columbia Law School. She graduated again first in her class. Even with her incredible academic record she still struggled with discrimination when seeking a job. After clerking for two years she began teaching and would eventually become the first female tenured professor at Columbia.
During that time she was the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. In this position Ginsburg argued numerous cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. One case that Ginsburg won, “involved a portion of the Social Security Act that favored women over men because it granted certain benefits to widows but not widowers.”
President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. Thirteen years later President Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ginsburg is truly an inspiration, and she is just plain badass.
Last year in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court ruled that, “privately owned for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods can refuse to cover birth control in their company’s insurance plans because of religiously objections. More specifically, the owners of Hobby Lobby believe that certain forms of birth control cause abortion.” Side note a simple fact check shows this isn’t true but that is a whole other issue.
In response to this decision Ginsburg wrote a dissent and threw out some serious knowledge. In her dissent she wrote, “the exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would… deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage” and she warned that the court had “ventured into a minefield.”
She stands up for what she believes in, is not afraid to speak her mind, can throw some excellent sassy facial expressions when the time calls, and is now going to be part of a new LEGO Legal Justice League set. What more could you ask for in a U.S. Supreme Court Justice?
When asked when there will be enough women on the court Ginsburg responded nine.
If you haven’t had enough of the Notorious RBG yet (is that even possible?) here are some fabulous quotes from Ginsburg.
Here is to you Ruth Bader Ginsburg!