To celebrate Women’s History Month, the NPC blog will spotlight Panhellenic women who are “Working to Form a More Perfect Union.” Along with the theme of Women’s History Month, we recognize women from public service and government. The fourth featured Panhellenic woman is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alpha Epsilon Phi.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. She attended Cornell University and received a bachelor’s degree in government. She later went to law school – balancing roles as a mother, wife and student – at Harvard University and then graduated from Columbia Law School after her husband Martin got a job in Manhattan. She began paving the way for women in law at Harvard by becoming the first female member of the “Harvard Law Review.” She continued taking steps for women when in 1963 Ginsburg began serving as only the second woman faculty member at Rutgers Law School and then became the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School where she taught from 1972-80.
In 1971 Ginsburg was a major part of the creation of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. She also served the ACLU as its general counsel from 1973-80 and on its national board from 1974-80. In her work for the ACLU she went before the U.S. Supreme Court with six landmark cases on gender discrimination.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served in this position until 1993 when President Bill Clinton appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the first Jewish woman to serve as a justice and only the second woman, following Sandra Day O’Connor. She lives by three main rules as a judge: caution, moderation and restraint.
Ginsburg truly has helped shape the history of women, and has been recognized for her efforts. In 1999, she received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.
"My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent.” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg