Ruth Bader Ginsburg


**Reposting from March 2017

Today’s Women’s History Month Moment is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I had a chance to see her on the day this photo was taken when I had the honor of moving the admission of a group of SIU Law alumni to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Ginsburg graciously visited with our group, congratulating them on their admission and answering questions. She and her husband were together sworn in before the Supreme Court 50 years ago last Monday. That was just the beginning of her long connection with the Supreme Court, first as an advocate–arguing cases that advanced women’s rights–and then as a justice. She grew up in Brooklyn and excelled in school, encouraged by her mother, who died of cancer the day before she graduated from high school. She went on to Cornell and graduated at the top of her class. She got married and put her career on hold to start her family. When she started law school at Harvard, she had a young child. During her first year of law school, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and she became his caretaker while still taking care of her daughter and maintaining the top position in her class at Harvard. After her second year, her husband got a job in New York, so she transferred to Columbia, where she graduated at the top of her class. Despite her outstanding academic performance, she had a hard time finding a paying law job, so she joined the Columbia Project on International Civil Procedure. She went on to become a civil procedure professor 🤓first at Rutgers and then at Columbia. She was the first woman to become a tenured professor at Columbia Law School. She directed the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, pursuing an impact litigation strategy to combat all forms of gender discrimination, including that which disadvantaged men as well as women. She was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in 1980, and to the US Supreme Court in 1993. She has not missed a day of SCOTUS oral arguments since she was sworn in. For several years, I had the privilege of chairing a committee that annually awards the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award. In this capacity, among others, I’ve had the honor of visiting with Justice Ginsburg several times, including hosting her at the luncheon honoring Herma Hill Kay, one of Justice Ginsburg’s long-time friends. She is always gracious and charming, and she has a great sense of humor. I can’t think of anyone who has done more to lift up women and than Justice Ginsburg.

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