Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Key moments from her life and career


Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the eldest current Supreme Court justice at 85, is known as a fierce advocate of equal pay and leader of the court’s liberal wing. 

After 25 years on the court, the 85-year-old has also become an icon revered among progressives. Earlier this year, Ginsburg said she planned to stay on the bench for at least five more years. 

Here are just a few things to know about the justice known simply as RBG:

Early life

Ruth Joan Bader was born March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University in 1954 and went on to graduate from Columbia Law School.

Family

She took on her now-legendary Ginsburg name after marrying Martin David Ginsburg on June 23, 1954. Her daughter, Jane, was born 14 months before Ginsburg started law school. Her son, James, was born a decade later.

Her husband died in 2010.

Advocate for women’s rights

Ginsburg joined an equal pay campaign in 1963 after realizing her salary was lower than her male colleagues at Rutgers Law School in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Ginsburg worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and co-founded the Women’s Rights Project. 

She’s handled sex discrimination complaints, supported the Equal Rights Amendment and found success with gender discrimination litigation.

In 2016, Ginsburg published a collection of her speeches and writings dating back to the eighth grade, titled “My Own Words,” that paints a picture of the women’s rights crusader. One part recounts her effort to keep alive a female captain’s lawsuit in 1972 after the Air Force withdrew its demand that she have an abortion or resign. 

Recently, Ginsburg spoke about the #MeToo movement to address sexual assault and harassment, saying, “my hope is not just that it is here to stay but that it is as effective for the woman who works as a maid in a hotel as it is for Hollywood stars.”

Joined the court

In 1980, she was appointed by former president Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court. 

Beat cancer – twice

In 1999 and 2000, Ginsburg underwent surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer. In 2009, she underwent surgery and treatment for the early stages of pancreatic cancer. Now, Ginsburg is known for her health routine that includes frequent gym visits and push ups. In March, she fended off rumors of retirement by saying she’s “feeling fine.”

‘Notorious RBG’

In recent years, Ginsburg has become a celebrity among progressives. She also was the subject of a documentary, “RBG.” Her biography is the subject of an upcoming feature film, “On the Basis of Sex,” in which she is played by actress Felicity Jones. Ginsburg was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women from 2004 through 2011.

More: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized after fall in her office

Sources: ACLU, Supreme Court History. Richard Wolf contributed to this article. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

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