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Questions

How many years did Ruth Bader Ginsburg serve on the U.S. Supreme Court?

As a lawyer, what was Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s focus?

Why do you think Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be missed?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Champion of Human Rights

The person shown here is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She recently died of cancer at the age of 87.

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For 27 years, Ginsburg was one of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Ginsburg was just the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Many people talk about how she was a great lawyer and judge. She was well-known for her legal knowledge, hard work, and skill in writing her opinions. In this photo you see the doors to the Supreme Court and Justice Ginsburg’s seat draped in black cloth after her death.

Ginsburg was born in 1933, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York.

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She was the top female student in her class at Cornell University. One month after graduation, she married her college boyfriend, Martin Ginsburg.

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After having her first child, she started law school at Harvard, where she was one of just nine women out of 500 students. She transferred to Columbia Law School, where she tied for first in her class when she graduated in 1959.

After graduation, she had difficulty getting a job because she was a woman. In 1963, Ginsburg got a job as a professor at Rutgers Law School, though she was paid less than the male professors.

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She also worked as an attorney and took cases focused on winning equal rights for women. Ginsburg founded a group called the Women’s Rights Project in 1972. As an attorney, she argued six cases before the Supreme Court, winning five of them.

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Because of her success in these cases, President Jimmy Carter nominated her to become a federal judge in 1980.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Only one other woman had ever served on the Court: Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor and Ginsburg are shown here with the only two other women to serve on the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

At first, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was thought to be a moderate justice. This means that her opinion would not be too strong one way or the other. But she was never shy about writing her opinions about Supreme Court cases.

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When she was on the losing side of a vote, she would often write a sharply worded dissent. This is an argument showing the winning side why they are wrong. This won her national fame — and the nickname “The Notorious R.B.G.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg left a mark on American society. She will be missed.  

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Text adapted with permission from NewsCurrents (©2020, Knowledge Unlimited, Inc. All rights reserved)