Breaking barriers: A commonality for Ruth Bater Ginsburg


Cover image of the book “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Chante Rutherford, Reporter

With the death of Ruth Bater Ginsburg spreading across the nation, the legacy she created and left sits high with those she’s affected over the course of her time in government. She has made history as the first woman to lie in The Capitol along with being the first Jewish person to lie there as well. 

To gain this honor with those such as John Lewis, several unknown soldiers and even former presidents, the Clinton court nominee worked tirelessly to give a voice to those who never had one.

In 1993, Ginsburg (born Joan Ruth Bater) became the second woman in the nation’s history to serve on the United State’s Supreme Court. She began her time in law after she graduated from Cornell University in 1954 with her Bachelors of Arts in Government. 

During her undergraduate years, she met her husband of 56 years Martin Ginsburg. 

From there, she gained her law degree from Columbia. Prior to her time at Columbia, she attended Harvard Law School where she was one of nine female students, all of which  were ridiculed for being in a man dominated field. 

Once transferring to Columbia, Ginsburg tied for the top of her class in 1959.

As a woman in law, she has been the voice for the underrepresented. Ginsburg became part of the General Council for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1993. Within her time on the general council she has fought for women’s rights, abortion rights, rights for the LGBTQ+ community and more. She even became the first person to officiate a same sex marriage ceremony.

“She has aided in providing rights to not only women, but for men, people with disabilities, different ethnicities, and people  within the LGBTQ+ community,” said Ashland student Noah Rau.

Ginsburg has garnered such a following from people of many paths of life to the point she was given the nickname “The Notorious RBG” in relation to 90s hip hop legend The Notorious BIG (Christopher Wallace) since both are natives of Brooklyn, New York. 

While serving, she also battled with her health constantly. In 1993, she had a successful surgery for her colon cancer a month after being sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice. In 2014, she underwent a heart procedure and fractured three ribs after falling in 2018. Ginsburg has pushed through her medical setbacks to hold her positions as the liberal judge.

After lying in the Capitol, she will be laid next to her husband Martin in Arlington National Cemetery.