Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States passed away on September 18, 2020.
Ruth Bader was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 15, 1933. In 1954, Bader received a B.A. in government from Cornell University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Also in 1954, she married Cornell classmate Martin Ginsburg. In 1959, Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from Columbia Law School, where she tied for first in her class. After becoming a tenured professor of law at Rutgers Law School, Ginsburg returned to her alma mater and worked as a law professor at Columbia; she was the first tenured female professor at the Law School. Ginsburg became General Counsel at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in 1973, successfully arguing five sex discrimination cases before the Supreme Court. President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1980. She was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and received Senate confirmation by a vote of 96-3.
Justice Ginsburg authored majority opinions in several significant Supreme Court cases, including United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) (holding Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admissions policy unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment), Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 576 U.S. (2015) (ruling the creation of an independent redistricting commission to be constitutional), and Timbs v. Indiana, 586 U.S. ___ (2019) (holding that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on excessive fines applies to state governments, not just the federal government). She developed a reputation as a liberal justice, supporting a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage” and repeatedly voting against the constitutionality of laws limiting access to abortion. In spite of significant ideological differences, Justice Ginsburg enjoyed a close friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Justice Ginsburg was diagnosed with cancer five times during her Supreme Court tenure. Showing remarkable courage and tenacity, she beat the disease four times and continued to serve on the Court. Her fifth encounter with cancer took her life. Justice Ginsburg leaves behind a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren, as well as her eight Supreme Court colleagues. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms offers our condolences to her family and friends.