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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice / Jurist

Born: 15 March 1933
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: The second woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. A New Yorker with degrees from Cornell (1954) and Columbia Law School (1959), Ginsburg overcame the obstacles of being Jewish and a working mother to have a stellar career in law. She spent most of her career specializing in gender equality issues, both as a law professor at Rutgers (1963-72) and Columbia (1972-80), and as a leader of the Women's Rights Project, an offshoot of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She also served as the ACLU's general counsel during the 1970s and won five of the six cases she argued before the Supreme Court. President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, and when she joined the Supreme Court in 1993 she was only the second woman to reach a spot on the nation's highest court (the first was Sandra Day O'Connor). Her views on reproductive rights, capital punishment and affirmative action have given her a reputation for being left of center politically.
Extra credit: She has had two bouts with cancer, first in 1999 (colon) and again in 2009 (pancreas)... Ginsburg and her ideological opposite on the bench, Antonin Scalia, are friends; they both appeared as extras in a 1994 production of the Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos.

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