Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is also commonly known by the moniker RBG, has spent her life as an underdog. From an early age, the diminutive, Brooklyn-born future jurist was shaped by the example and influence of her hard-working mother, a highly intelligent woman who sacrificed her own education to help put her brother through college. This altruistic act left an indelible impression on RBG, and it also instilled in her the importance of self-reliance as well as the need to pursue an education.
These early influences not only helped to propel Ginsburg forward in life, but they also facilitated her maturation into a trailblazer. In a time when few women were offered the opportunity to pursue higher education, Ginsburg excelled in her studies and matriculated from Cornell University in 1954, where she was first in her class.
Ginsburg’s trailblazing nature has not only defined her professional pursuits, but it has also extended into her personal life, as well. The same year she graduated from Cornell, RBG married Martin Ginsburg, her life partner and equal. The two formed an extremely successful union on every level. It was a relationship built on love, mutual respect, and support of one another’s goals as well as ambitions.
While RBG worked a civil service job and attended to their young family, Martin was able to build a successful career as a tax attorney. In later years, Martin assumed the role of domestic gatekeeper and oversaw many of the family responsibilities while RBG climbed the ranks. The couple has been well-regarded for their ability to balance each other and foster one another’s pursuits–both personally and professionally. Their relationship is admired for its equality and progressive nature, especially given the societal climate in which it began.
RBG’s academic excellence continued in her law studies at Harvard, where she became the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. This was followed by a transfer to Columbia Law School, following her husband’s battle with testicular cancer and subsequent graduation from law school. While at Columbia, she was also appointed to their law review and, once again, graduated first in her class from Columbia Law School in 1959.
Despite Ginsburg’s lifelong academic excellence and varied accomplishments, she continued to encounter gender discrimination while seeking employment following her graduation from law school. These experiences helped to foster the future Supreme Court justice’s fight for gender equality, women’s rights, and civil rights, just to name a few. These pursuits are passionate ideologies that Ginsburg has fought to uphold and defend while on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), a post which she was appointed to in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
More recently, Ginsburg has been in the news due to the release of a biopic based on her life story, On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) as RBG. She has also made headlines for her recent surgery to remove cancerous growths from her left lung. Ginsburg is currently recovering and has been deemed cancer-free by her doctors.