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Our Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

On June 21, 2004, after having been sworn into the United States Supreme Court, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg was sworn into the Supreme Court in 1993. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Ruth Ginsburg became the first Jewish female member in Supreme Court history. She attended Harvard Law School, and then transferred to Columbia Law School, graduating in 1959. She clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, taught at Rutgers Law School (1963-72), and became (1972) the first woman full professor at Columbia. During the 1970s, as general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Women's Rights Project, she argued a series of cases before the Supreme Court that strengthened constitutional safeguards of sexual equality; she has been called the "Thurgood Marshall of women's rights." In 1980, President Carter nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

As a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg authored the famous court opinion in United States v. Virginia (1996), ruling the Virginia Military Institute failed to show "exceedingly persuasive justification" for its male-only admission policy and was therefore violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Olmstead v. L.C., (1999), Ginsburg authored the opinion, expanding the rights of mentally ill people under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ginsburg also wrote the landmark ruling in Friends of the Earth, Inc. et al. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc., (2000) Giving private citizens standing, under the Clean Water Act, to sue environmental polluters.

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