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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman in history to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1933. In 1954, she was one of nine women in a class of more than 500 at Harvard Law, before graduating at the top of her class at Columbia Law in 1959. Ginsburg served as the American Civil Liberties Union’s general counsel from 1973 to 1980 and was the founder and chief litigator for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, through which she worked successfully to change laws nationwide to reduce gender discrimination in hiring and to prevent pregnancy from being used as a cause for dismissal. On the Supreme Court, Ginsburg has written opinions striking down the men-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute (1996) and striking down legislation that banned “indecent” Internet content (1996). She dissented vociferously from the majority decision in Bush v. Gore (2000), which determined that a full recount of Florida’s votes was “impractical.” In 2015, she supported majority opinions that upheld the subsidies component of the Affordable Care Act and that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Ginsburg has become a cultural icon in recent years, appearing on T-shirts and gaining the nickname “Notorious RBG.” She has indicated that, despite her age and thanks to her good health, she will continue on the bench and not create a vacancy that Donald Trump might fill.
“The demand for justice runs through the entirety of the Jewish tradition. I hope, in my years on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, I will have the strength and the courage to remain constant in the service of that demand.” —Ruth Bader Ginsburg