Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg.jpg
Current Court Information:
Supreme Court of the United States
Title:   Associate Justice
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Approval vote:   97-3
Active:   8/5/1993-Present
Preceded by:   Byron White
Past post:   District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Past term:   1980-1993
Personal History
Born:   March 15, 1933
Hometown:   Brooklyn, New York
Undergraduate:   Cornell, B.A., 1954
Law School:   Columbia Law, LL.B., 1959

Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on June 22, 1993, and received her commission to serve on August 5, 1993.

Bader Ginsburg is the second woman and the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court. In practice, she spent a considerable portion of her career as an advocate for the equal citizenship status of women and men as a constitutional principle. She engaged in advocacy as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, and in the 1970s, was a member of the ACLU's Board and one of its General Counsel.[1][2]

Personal life

Ginsburg has suffered from ill health, undergoing cancer surgery in February of 2009 and a brief hospital stay in September of 2009 after falling ill in her offices. She also spent a night in the hospital in October of 2009 after collapsing in an airplane.[3][4][5]


Ginsburg received her B.A. from Cornell University. In 1954, she enrolled at Harvard Law School. When her husband took a job in New York City she transferred to Columbia Law School and became the first woman to be on both the Harvard and Columbia law reviews. She earned her LL. B degree at Columbia.[2][6]


In 1959, Ginsburg began clerking for Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. From 1961 to 1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure, learning Swedish to co-author a book on judicial procedure in Sweden.

Ginsburg was a Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law-Newark from 1963 to 1972. In 1970, she co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the United States to focus exclusively on women's rights. From 1972 until 1980, she taught at Columbia, where she became the first tenured woman and co-authored the first law school case book on sex discrimination.

In 1977, Ginsburg became a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. As the chief litigator of the ACLU's women's rights project, she argued several cases in front of the Supreme Court and attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate.[6][2]

Judicial career

Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit

Ginsburg was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Carter on April 14, 1980, and received her commission on June 18, 1980. She was filling the seat left vacant by the death of Harold Leventhal.[1]

Supreme Court

President Bill Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on June 22, 1993. During her confirmation hearings in the Senate, she refused to answer questions regarding her personal views on most issues or how she would adjudicate certain hypothetical situations as a Supreme Court Justice. She did answer questions relating to some issues, affirming her belief in a constitutional right to privacy, and explaining at some length her personal philosophy and thoughts regarding gender equality. The U.S. Senate confirmed her by a 96 to 3 vote and she took her seat on August 10, 1993.

For the full transcript of Justice Bader Ginsburg's confirmation hearing, visit: The Library of Congress, Nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Oath of office

Justice Ginsburg took the Constitutional and Judicial Oaths of Office on August 10, 1993. They were administered by Chief Justice William Rehnquist.[7]

Supreme Court opinions

Opinions by year

Below is a table of the number of opinions, concurrences, dissents, and splits (concur in part, dissent in part) that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has issued since joining the Supreme Court according to the data on Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute.[8]

1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Opinions 1 9 9 10 10 8 10 8 10 10 8 11 7 7 8 5 7 9 8 0 0
Concurrences 1 10 8 5 4 6 3 3 5 2 3 3 5 3 3 3 1 3 8 0 0
Dissents 0 7 7 3 3 7 3 7 3 6 6 6 7 3 4 5 8 3 5 0 0
Concur in part, Dissent in part 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 0 1 0 0
Totals 2 27 24 19 18 21 17 20 18 18 18 20 19 13 16 16 17 15 22 0 0

"Ginsburg Precedent"

More than a decade passed between the time Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer were appointed and the time another justice left the court. In that time, both Congress and the White House had switched to Republican control. When Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement in the summer of 2005 (with William Rehnquist's death a few months later), both sides began to squabble about just how many questions President George W. Bush's nominees would be expected to answer. The debate heated up when hearings for John Roberts began in September 2005. Republicans used an argument that they called the "Ginsburg Precedent," which centered on Ginsburg's confirmation hearings. In those hearings, she did not answer some questions involving matters such as abortion, gay rights, separation of church and state, rights of the disabled, and so on. Only one witness was allowed to testify "against" Ginsburg at her confirmation hearings and the hearings lasted four days.[9]

However, some politicians, such as Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, contested the idea of the "precedent." He said that "over 300 opinions over 13 years as a federal judge" allowed Ginsburg to share her opinions through her body of work.[9]


Following the strong dissents read by Justice Ginsburg during the end of the Supreme Court's October 2012 term, a Tumblr of quotes, memes and cartoons was created. Click on this link for the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr.

September 2013 interview

In September 2013, Justice Ginsburg participated in an interview with the website The Takeaway. Below are the links to the transcripts from that interview:

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Harold Leventhal
DC Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by:
David Tatel
Preceded by:
Byron White
Supreme Court
Succeeded by: