Five Times Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg Has Ruled More Than the Court
On June 30, 2014 the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that corporations can refuse to cover contraception in their health plans for religious reasons. MAKER Justic Ruth Bader Ginsburg heatedly disagreed with the conservative Justices and wrote a scathing 35-page dissent in defense of the contraception coverage, reported The Huffington Post.
In response, Ruth wrote, “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage...In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs." She said she feared that with its decision, the court had "ventured into a minefield." She also claims, "It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."
In honor of her defending women, we decided to list a few more times that Justice Ginsburg has stood out among her peers and "ruled" the court.
1. When she started at Harvard Law School in 1956, Ginsburg was one of nine women in a class of 500. The dean greeted the women on the first day of school. Instead of welcoming them, he asked each woman to tell him why, exactly, they were occupying a seat that could be held by a man. Ginsburg went on to rank first in her class at Harvard, while raising her kids, and first at Columbia, where she transferred for her senior year.
Years later, after Ginsburg read Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex, she says, “I began to think maybe the law could catch up with changes in society. That was an empowering idea.”
2. She has always defended women’s rights. In 1972, she founded the ACLU Women’s Rights Project in order to tear down barriers and open opportunities to women. “We should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial man-made barriers,” she says in her MAKERS story.
3. From 1972 to1980, she taught at Columbia Law School and became their first female tenured professor.
4. She was the first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex wedding. In 2013, she married Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, and economist John Roberts in Washington.
5. At age 80, she still lifts weights at the Supreme Court gym. In a New Yorker piece, Jeffrey Toobin wrote, “Kagan uses the same trainer as Ginsburg, and when the younger Justice struggles with fifteen-pound curls the trainer says, ‘C’mon! Justice Ginsburg can do that easily!’”
Photo credit to Notorious RBG, an incredible Tumblr dedicated to the Justice.