RBG: Born Under A Bright Star

Emilia McLaughlin '21, Staff Writer

In an interview with Nina Totenburg from National Public Radio (NPR), Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalled, “So I’ll tell you what Justice Ruth O’Connor once said to me. She said, ‘Suppose we had come of age at a time when women lawyers were welcome at the bar. You know what? Today we would be retired partners from some large law firm. But because that route was not open to us, we had to find another way. And we both ended up in the United States Supreme Court.” 

Ginsburg was born in 1933 in New York during the Great Depression. Her parents encouraged her early love of education, but before she could graduate high school, her mother died. She pursued a higher education at Cornell University, graduated top of her class and then went on to law school all while handling her husband’s cancer and taking care of her first-born child. At Harvard, she faced constant harassment for her gender, and was refused a job despite once again graduating top of her class. She was finally recommended as a clerk under U.S district judge Edmund L. Palmieri. She studied Swedish civil procedure for a few years, and then became a professor at Rutgers University Law. 

Ginsburg utilized Congress to pass legislation that worked against gender bias. She fought her way into the law field and politics despite odds, and earned the respect of American citizens everywhere. While fighting pancreatic cancer she kept her head high and worked to provide justice and law. Ginsburg died September 18th, 2020, a woman of incredible intelligence, honor and resilience.

Image courtesy of Flickr.