Jurist / U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court for almost three decades, from her appointment President Bill Clinton
in 1993 until her death in office in 2020. A New Yorker with degrees from Cornell (1954) and Columbia Law School (1959), Ginsburg overcame a serious obstacle at the time -- being a working mother -- to get a law degree and have a stellar career in the legal profession. She spent most of her career specializing in gender equality issues, both as a law professor at Rutgers (1963-72) and Columbia (1972-80), and as a leader of the Women's Rights Project, an offshoot of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She also served as the ACLU's general counsel during the 1970s and won five of the six cases she argued before the Supreme Court. President Jimmy Carter
appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, and when she joined the Supreme Court in 1993 she was only the second woman to reach a spot on the nation's highest court (the first was Sandra Day O'Connor
). Ginsburg's views on reproductive rights, capital punishment and affirmative action have gave her a reputation as a liberal leader. In her later years she became a beloved figure among a new generation of feminists and progressives, earning the whimsical nickname "The Notorious RBG."