Ruth Bader Ginsburg Rocks!

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 Crossposted on JVoices

Fifteen years ago this week, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second woman - and the first Jewish woman - to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Considering that of the court's 110 justices, 7 have been Jewish and only 2 women, Ginsburg's appointment was no small feat. Of course, all the remarkable things she accomplished before her appointment - Harvard and Columbia Law Review, first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School, head of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, among other things - were no small feats, either. Before her appointment, Ginsburg had argued many times in front of the Supreme Court - often in defense of women's rights. When the call came from Clinton in 1993, she was prepared.

In 1996, for example, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, which struck down the male-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute. That said, the past several years on the bench have brought a number of cases in which Ginsburg's strong moral convictions have been challenged by the often conservative bent of the Court. An obvious example is the 2000 case, Bush v. Gore.

In recent years, Ginsburg has been diagnosed with - and fought - colo-rectal cancer, and remains on the bench of the Supreme Court today, (perhaps she is waiting to step down until there is a Democrat in the White House?). She has said that her career, and her tenure as a judge have been deeply influenced by her experience as a Jewish woman. In her statement to the Jewish Women's Archive's Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution Exhibit, Ginsburg wrote: "I conclude with words I often use when asked to say who I am. I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition. I hope that in all the years I have the good fortune to continue serving on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States I will have the strength and courage to remain steadfast in the service of that demand."

Certainly I share that hope with her. To learn more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, visit This Week in History.

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