Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pictured above in 2009, served for 27 years on the highest court of the land and was the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, a legal pioneer who broke barriers for women in law, a feminist icon to many, and the recent pop culture phenomenon known as the 'Notorious RBG' has died.
She passed away from complications of pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.
She served for 27 years on the highest court of the land and was the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
The collar-wearing octogenarian captured the public's imagination – especially for those on the left who offered everything from kale to protective bubbles to later on wearing masks on social media to safeguard her continued tenure on the highest court in the land. The list of things that Ginsburg inspired is long: two films, memes that range from the ribald to inspirational, mountains of memorabilia from t-shirts to totes, cocktails, a book on her workout, and even tattoos.
But beyond the persona of the 'Notorious RBG' and her groundbreaking law career, Ginsburg was a mother of two, had two grandchildren, and was married to her husband Martin D. Ginsburg for 56 years until his death in 2010. She blazed a path for women in the legal profession, and at five-foot-one had become a towering figure in Washington, D.C.
Ginsburg battled several bouts of cancer after being first diagnosed in 2009.
Above, Martin D. Ginsburg (left) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right) at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1954. They were married for 56 years and met while they both attended Cornell University. After graduating, the couple moved to Fort Sill so Martin could do his military service
It was love at first Charles Dickens. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (left), pictured here with her husband of 56 years, Martin D. Ginsburg (right). They met while college students at Cornell University during the 1950s. Ruth was impressed by Martin's answer to a quiz question during a literature class taught by famous novelist Vladimir Nabokov, according to the biography called 'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life' by Jane Sherron De Hart
The Ginsburg family, above, in a photo taken in 1958. Martin D. Ginsburg (left) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right) with their daughter Jane C. Ginsburg (center). Jane C. Ginsburg followed in her mother's steps and became a lawyer after graduating from Harvard Law School, and currently teaches at Columbia Law School
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (center) and Martin D. Ginsburg (standing behind her) married in 1954 after she graduated at the top of her class at Cornell. Their first child, Jane C. Ginsburg, was born in 1955, and their second child, James S. Ginsburg, in 1965. Shown here on Oct. 21, 1993 at the Supreme Court, are from left, son-in-law George T. Spera Jr and her daughter Jane C. Ginsburg, her husband Martin, and her son James S. Ginsburg. The judge's grandchildren Clara Spera (left) and Paul Spera (right) are in front
A 2018 biography emphasized Marty's 'proto-feminism' in the 1950s during a time where some women went to college to get their 'MRS degree,' meaning that it was a means to an end to find a spouse. Ginsburg said Martin was the 'the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain,' and they had a long-lasting marriage until Martin died in 2010 from cancer at the age of 78. They are pictured here at a gala opening night dinner after a Washington Opera performance on October 21, 2000
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her engagement photo taken in December 1953
Born on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, Joan Ruth Bader was the second daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, Celia and Nathan Bader. Her older sister, who would later die at aged six from meningitis, nicknamed her 'Kiki' for apparently being 'a kicky baby.' Her mother, Celia, a garment factory worker, would encourage Ruth – she went by her middle name to distinguish herself from the other Joans in her Brooklyn class – to attain a higher level of education than she did.
'My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent. The study of law was unusual for women of my generation. For most girls growing up in the '40s, the most important degree was not your BA, but your MRS,' she recalled to the ACLU, referring to the idea that women went to college to land a man, get married and become a missus - not to get a bachelor's degree.
Her mother died from cancer right before Ginsburg graduated from high school.
In 1950, Ginsburg started attending Cornell University where she would meet her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, during a literature class taught by famous novelist Vladimir Nabokov, according to the biography called 'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life' by Jane Sherron De Hart.
Martin was able to answer Nabokov's quiz question about Charles Dickens, and Ginsburg was smitten, later saying that Martin was the 'the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain.'
'Meeting Marty was by far the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me,' Ginsburg said in one of the films about her, the documentary 'RBG.' 'Marty was a man blessed with a wonderful sense of humor. I tend to be rather sober.'
At aged 21, Ginsburg, who majored in government, graduated at the top of her class in 1954 at Cornell and married Martin soon after. Their first child, Jane C. Ginsburg, was born on July 21, 1955. Due to Martin's military service, they moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
'After dinner, the newlyweds often spent their evenings reading aloud to each other from Pepys, Tolstoy, Dickens and even Spinoza, although the philosopher was tougher fare,' De Hart wrote, according to a Washington Post article about the biography.
De Hart emphasized Marty's 'proto-feminism' in the 1950s, and the couple decided they both would pursue careers. After two years in Oklahoma, Ginsburg and Martin went to Harvard Law School in 1956. Women had only started being admitted to the law school six years earlier, and Ginsburg was one of nine women in a class of about 500.
Martin graduated from Harvard in 1958 and practiced tax law in New York. Ginsburg switched schools, attending Columbia Law School to be close to her husband. In 1959, she graduated with her law degree, a Juris Doctor, from Columbia, and was tied for first in her class.
A young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pictured here in 1977, who broke barriers in the legal profession to become the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice
Despite the credentials, Ginsburg, now 26, was still a woman and she had a hard time finding a place at a law firm after graduation.
'You think about what would have happened... Suppose I had gotten a job as a permanent associate. Probably I would have climbed up the ladder and today I would be a retired partner. So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune,' Ginsburg said during the documentary series, 'Makers: Women Who Make America.'
Ginsburg was also rejected for a Supreme Court clerkship due to being a woman. But there were successes as well: she was the first female member of the Harvard Law Review and was elected to the Columbia Law Review as well. Eventually, Ginsburg landed a clerkship for a judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
After two years with the Southern District, Ginsburg was a research associate and associate director for the Project of International Procedure at Columbia Law School. She also learned Swedish, and conducted research in Sweden for a book that she co-authored on civil procedure in the country.
After serving as a judge of