The Notorious RBG

The Commission salutes the life and memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and honors her immeasurable contributions to the advancement of women, women’s rights and equality. A champion of women, human rights and democracy, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a trailblazer who leaves an incredible legacy. A beloved cultural icon and leader who fought for women’s rights, a beacon in dark times, and a shining example of grace – may her legacy light the way for future generations.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fundamentally shifted the foundations of life for American women. In her early career there were hundreds of state and federal laws that restricted the rights of women. In no small part due to the work of Ginsburg, the shift in cultural attitudes and legal precedent on behalf of women has been nothing less than a revolution. She famously highlighted the need for a radical rethinking of the place of women in American life in the following quote,

“When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School and acquired her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. From 1961-1963, Ginsberg served as a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure.

She was a professor of law at Rutgers University in 1963-1972, and Columbia Law School in 1972-1980 and in 1971, Ruth Bader Ginsberg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and served as the ACLU’s general counsel until 1980 when she was appointed a judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

She was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Clinton where she spent the last years of her life working diligently to remind us that, as she said, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” 

Hear RBG's most memorable speeches

Listen to some of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s most remarkable speeches over the years.

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.” 

– Chief Justice John Roberts 

“Justice Ginsburg devoted her extraordinary life and intellect to making the words of our nation’s founding documents more true. Throughout her historic legal career, her contributions as a jurist to the cause of equality for women and men were unmatched. Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly for the rights of women at work, at school and in the life of our nation. She proved over and over again that sex-based discrimination harmed not just women, but men and families, and that reckoning with this inequality was required for our nation to live out its promise. In moving our nation forward, she inspired millions among us, including so many women and girls, to reach higher, dream bigger and dissent more passionately. Though this loss is incalculable, her legacy will live on in the fairer, more just society that she bravely ushered in and that we must, to honor her, safeguard. Our thoughts and prayers are with her colleagues, her family and all Americans in mourning.”  

Gavin Newsom

Governor, State of California