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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Progressive


"Dissents speak to a future age."

Biographical Details

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Photo: Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images.
74 years old. Graduate of Cornell University (1954), attending Harvard Law School before transferring to Columbia University Law School (summa cum laude, 1959), where she graduated with the highest grade point average ever recorded. Reform Jew. Married to Georgetown University law professor Martin D. Ginsburg, with two adult children and two grandchildren.

Career Background

1959-1961: Clerked for Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

1961-1963: Associate Director of the Columbia University Law School Project on International Procedure.

1963-1972: Professor of Law at Rutgers University.

1972-1980: Founder and Chief Litigator of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, and Professor of Law at Columbia University.

1977-1978: Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.

1980-1993: Associate Justice of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nomination and Approval

In June 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg to replace retiring Associate Justice Byron White. She was approved by the Senate by an overwhelming 96-3 margin.

Landmark Cases

United States v. Virginia (1996): Wrote a 7-1 majority opinion striking down Virginia Military Intitute's men-only admissions policy, opening up all U.S. military academies to female students.

Reno v. ACLU (1997): Wrote the majority opinion striking down the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which attempted to ban all "indecent" Internet content.

Tasini v. New York Times (2001): Wrote a 7-2 majority opinion establishing that publishers may not resell print articles in electronic databases without authors' permission.

Ring v. Arizona (2002): Wrote the majority opinion establishing that judges acting alone may not sentence prisoners to death.
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