On this day in 1933, Joan Ruth Bader was born in Brooklyn, New York to Russian, Jewish immigrant parents. After marrying Martin Ginsburg in 1954 and taking his name, she attended law school, graduating in 1959. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she has served on the bench of our nation's highest judicial body for nearly 24 years. During this time, Justice Ginsburg has written several notable opinions but is perhaps better known for her, occasionally, blistering dissents.
In recent years, Justice Ginsburg has become something of a pop culture icon, and today, in honor of her 84th birthday as well as National Women's History Month, we at the Harris County Law Library are celebrating. Many are familiar with the "Notorious RBG" meme that has taken over the Internet and the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, but lesser-known facts about the second woman to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court include her achievements as an athlete, opera emcee, collar collector, and as a namesake to a preying mantis. What's more, she is full of good advice for women, and, after many successful years in the law, has much wisdom to dispense. As a gifted writer (who credits her college professor Vladimir Nabokov with improving her skill) and a sharp, articulate thinker who has been called the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law, Justice Ginsburg's words are worth heeding. Although she is serious on the bench (and perhaps less funny than her best buddy, Antonin Scalia, according to a tabulation of laughter notations in Supreme Court oral argument transcripts), she is clever and quick with a quip. Justice Ginsburg's brilliance, warmth, virtue, magnanimity, and good humor are qualities to admire. As they say, there is no Truth without Ruth. Happy birthday, RBG!