On September 18, 2020, we lost a prominent member of the United States Supreme Court. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after serving 27 years on the Supreme Court. Originally appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsberg was best know for her activist nature. She spent a lifetime working for gender equality for all.

Early Life

Justice Ginsburg began her life in Brooklyn, New York on March 15, 1933. Her passion for education started at a young age. Her mother encouraged both her and her brother to excel in their school work. Ginsberg thrived at Madison High School, and upon graduating, enrolled at Cornell University. While working on her undergraduate, she met her life-long partner, Martin Ginsburg. After graduating in 1954, they were married. However, one year later, her husband was drafted. She was left to raise their first child alone. 

When her husband returned after two years of military service, Ginsburg resumed her education. She enrolled at Harvard Law School. During her time there, she faced multiple challenges, including rampant sexism from her peers and teachers, complications on the home front, and maintaining her outstanding grades. She eventually transferred to Colombia Law School after her husband got a job in New York City.

She graduated from Colombia, tied for first in her class. Even so, she struggled to find a job. It took a threat from Colombia law professor Gerald Gunther for her to eventually secure a clerk position for Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of New York. She worked for the judge for two years.

Ginsburg Turns to Education

Following her time with Judge Palmieri, Ginsburg changed career paths. Between 1961 and 1963, Ginsburg served as a research associate and eventual associate director of the Colombia Law School Project on International Procedure. Her focus was primarily on civil procedures in Sweden, and she even studied abroad at Lund University. When she returned to the United States, Ginsburg eventually found herself teaching at Rutgers Law School. She left this position in 1972 to accept a position in Colombia. She received tenure while working at Colombia, making her the first female professor at the school to do so.

At the same time, Ginsburg was responsible for directing the Womens’ Rights Projects of the American Civil Liberties Union. While in this position, Ginsburg fought for the rights of both men, and women. She won six, massive gender discrimination cases while serving as the director of the ACLU.

Appointment to the Supreme Court

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter offered Ginsburg a position on the U.S. Court of Appeals. She accepted the seat and stayed on the bench until her appointment to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton in 1993.

Justice Ruth Ginsberg is survived by her son, James and daughter, Jane. Her memory will be treasured by all those who knew her. She will be put to rest at Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband, who passed in 2010.

About Brandon Sample

Brandon Sample is an attorney, author, and criminal justice reform activist. Brandon’s law practice is focused on federal criminal defense, federal appeals, federal post-conviction relief, federal civil rights litigation, federal administrative law, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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