Ruth Bader Ginsburg: May Her Memory Be a Blessing

  • Photo of Justice Ginsburg

As the nation mourns the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020), she is being remembered as a distinguished judge, passionate advocate for gender equality, and an inspiring force in the face of adversity. In a press release from the Supreme Court, her fellow jurists called her an “American hero”, a “rock of righteousness”, and “dear friend” while also drawing attention to her personal qualities of warmth, kindness, wisdom, and wit, to name a few. 

Among her many accomplishments, Ginsburg was the first female member of the Harvard Law Review, the first (tied) in her graduating class at Columbia Law, a professor at both Rutgers and Columbia, the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, an awardee of the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall Award, the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Court’s second female Justice.

Soft-spoken and reserved, Ginsburg was also known for her devotion to family (helping her husband stay up-to-date with his own law school studies while he underwent cancer treatments early in their marriage, for example), her close friendships with those with opposing viewpoints (such as Justice Scalia), her often fiery dissents, and her love of opera. For a more detailed profile of Ginsburg’s life, both personal and professional, Oyez provides succinct biographies of past and present U.S. Supreme Court Justices.       

Readings & Resources

For other biographies of Ginsburg (and other Justices) throughout time, Jenkins owns The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789-2012 as well as “The Supremes”: Essays on the Current Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (1999). Jenkins also has titles that include writings and remarks by Ginsburg, such as Effective Advocacy in the Federal Appellate Courts and Reason and Passion: Justice Brennan’s Enduring Influence (in which she contributes a piece entitled “Court Architect of Gender Equality…”). These print books are available for curbside pickup.   

The remote member database Newsbank provides a ready-made search for news articles about Ginsburg, found in the“People” category under “Suggested Topics” on Newsbank’s homepage.

HeinOnline offers plenty of further reading. For starters, you can read the proceedings for Ginsburg’s Senate nomination hearings to become an Associate Justice in 1993. Searching for the phrase “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” in the full text of all of Hein’s collections will return thousands of journal articles and documents in which her name appears. You can also use Hein’s Advanced Search function to search for her name as an author.      

Similarly, you can use the Advanced Caselaw Search in Fastcase to find cases over which Ginsburg presided as a jurist or in which she argued as an attorney. Use the keyword Ginsburg, select the Supreme Court for jurisdiction, and set the date range to 1970-1980, for example, to return a list that includes each of the six cases that she argued before the Supreme Court, such as Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973) and Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975).      

Looking beyond Jenkins, The Library at Washington and Lee University School of Law maintains an excellent guide called Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Reading List, which highlights books both about and by Ginsburg - including My Own Words - as well as many of her arguments and opinions. Not listed in the guide, but recommended by this writer, is the 2018 documentary simply titled RBG

Finally, Justia has compiled a complete list of opinions authored by Justice Ginsburg - look for historic rulings like the majority opinions in U.S. v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) and Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) as well as dissenting opinions in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 and Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618 (2007).

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