Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Section 5, Grave 7016-1

The first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court, and the second female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–2020) served on the nation’s highest court from August 10, 1993 until her death from metastatic pancreatic cancer on September 18, 2020. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents (her father immigrated from Russia as a child, and her mother was the daughter of Polish immigrants), Ginsburg attended Cornell University, Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School, graduating first in her class from the latter in 1959. Prior to her appointment on the Supreme Court, she taught law at Rutgers University and Columbia University (where she became the first female law professor to earn tenure); co-founded and directed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project, winning five of six cases that she argued before the Supreme Court; and served on the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia.

Described by Chief Justice John Roberts as “a tireless and resolute champion of justice,” Ginsburg steadfastly advocated for the equal rights of all U.S. citizens regardless of gender, race or religion—informed, in part, by her personal experiences with discrimination throughout her career. As the Court became increasingly conservative, Ginsburg became known for her forceful dissenting opinions, often articulated in impassioned oral arguments. “The Notorious RBG” — as supporters affectionately dubbed her — eventually became a feminist icon who inspired multiple generations of Americans.

► Read our blog post, "Honoring the Life and Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg"