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  • Writer's pictureMatilda Butler

Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- an Amazing CAN DO Woman. Part 2

Updated: Apr 20, 2022


After reading last week’s blog on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we hope you can already see why we say:



Do not let bias, discrimination, and other obstacles hold you back.

Find your own path to achieve your own goals.

Welcome back. Today I’m continuing the amazing story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life—a life filled with inspiration for all of us. If you missed last week’s RBG Part 1, here’s the link.

<<Scroll to the end of this blog for a news update about Ruth Bader Ginsburg (and Sandra Day O'Connor)>>


"Women belong in all places where

decisions are being made.” RBG

Career Change

  • By now, you may think Ginsburg had overcome all possible obstacles and that it would be easy sailing. Not exactly. She decided to begin a teaching career and accepted a position on the faculty of Rutgers Law School in 1963. You won’t be surprised to learn that she was paid less than her male counterparts because “your husband has a very good job.” And although we may think that academic jobs would be more open to women than clerkships or positions at law firms, RBG was one of fewer than 20 female law professors in the US. She continued as a professor from 1963 to 1972. It was during this time that she co-founded the Women’s Right Law Report, which was the first law journal in America to focus exclusively on women’s rights.


"I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.” RBG

  • A move. Ginsburg continued her academic career (1972-1980) at Columbia Law School where she was the first tenured faculty woman. During that time, she co-authored the first casebook to be used in law schools that focused exclusively on gender discrimination.

More Beyond Academia

  • Although RBG continued in her faculty position at Columbia until 1980, she was also active in women’s rights legal cases through the American Civil Liberties Union where she had co-founded The Women’s Rights Project. By 1974, the Project had actively participated in a large number (more than 300) of gender cases. Ginsburg argued six of these before the Supreme Court.

Her strategy? Don’t ask for everything at once. She argued against individual discriminatory statutes and when the court ruled in her favor, she built on that foundation to tackle the next case. Thanks to a suggestion from her secretary, she introduced and almost exclusively used the word “gender” rather than “sex” discrimination in her legal arguments. Many followed her lead.


"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."

  • Ginsburg attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate, and her work led directly to the end of gender discrimination in many areas of the law. In her final appearance as an attorney addressing the Supreme Court (1978), RBG argued that jury duty should not be optional for women as jury duty was a “citizen’s vital governmental service.” At the end of Ginsburg's oral argument, Justice William Rehnquist asked her, "You won't settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?” By now accustomed to put-downs and not being taken seriously, Ginsburg later told an interviewer she considered responding, "We won't settle for tokens.” Instead, she simply ignored the question.

  • How to summarize these years? Most legal scholars say RBG was more responsible for advancing women’s rights under the the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution than anyone else. Stated another way, she was a major force in seeing to it that women and men were treated the same under the law.


"If you want to be a true professional,

do something outside yourself.” RBG

On to Judgeships

By 1979, both RBG and her husband were ready to move on in their careers. In January 1979, she filled out a questionnaire to be considered as a possible nominee to the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals. President Carter nominated her to the District of Columbia Circuit US Court of Appeals and she was confirmed in June of 1980. RBG became known as a consensus builder and worked with conservatives and liberals. Her reputation was that of a “cautious jurist” and a moderate.

[And my friend Cissy? If you read my previous blog, you may remember my lawyer friend. She became the first female assistant US attorney in Nashville, the first female prosecutor in Tennessee’s state courts, the first woman appointed to the faculty of Vanderbilt University’s School of Law, the first female judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, the first female Associate Justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court, and the first female Tennessee judge on the Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals. If you remember her story from last week, you know that each of these achievements was hard won.]


"You can disagree without being disagreeable.” RBG

  • August 10, 1993…and then there were two. Nominated by President Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became just the second female U.S. Supreme Court justice when she took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She joined Sandra Day O’Connor on the bench and was later joined by Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Ginsburg is a powerful example of someone who lived her beliefs and wasn't afraid to voice them.

  • Ginsburg was a longtime, forceful advocate of women's rights and gender equality. She had the respect of her colleagues on the Supreme Court as well as much of the American public. She died at the age of 87 on Friday, September 18, 2020.

[Final note on Cissy. I am surprised at the similarities between RBG and Cissy’s careers since I had never compared them before. Clearly, they shared the experiences of many women who sought to have careers on an equal footing with those of men. Although RBG became a Supreme Court Justice, even Cissy came close to that honor. Magazines at the time wrote that she was one of four women who might be tapped for that prestigious honor if Al Gore became president and there was an opening during his tenure. But, alas that was not to happen.]

As you have noticed in this blog and last week’s blog, Ruth Bader Ginsburg left us many inspirational quotes. I decided to share what she said about how she would like to be remembered. It is one we might all hope to achieve.


"I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had

to do her work to the very best of her ability." RBG

But Wait a Minute. Did I Forget Something About RBG?

Oh yes. A distinctive look for Ruth Bader Ginsburg included one of her collars (also known as jabots). When asked about them, she explained that the standard black judge’s robe was designed for a man. It allowed a place for his shirt and tie to show. So, with Sandra Day O’Connor, they decided to add an element that was more typical for a woman--a collar.

Over the years, RBG acquired many collars. Some she bought but many were given to her. Perhaps the most famous is her dissent collar (shown to the left) that she wore when reading the dissent opinion.

If you’re interested, click below for a Town and Country Magazine article about these well-known jabots.

We hope you’ll take the inspirational message we found in

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and make it part of your own life.

Or, find your own inspirational message from her life

and let it become your guiding message.



Do not let bias, discrimination, and other obstacles hold you back.

Find your own path to achieve your own goals.


The following statement has just been released about new statues of Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a bi-partisan bill was just signed into law. (April 14, 2022)

Here's the link to the source article reproduced below. The original article has links to articles about the naming of a ship after Ruth Bader Ginsburg AND data on the gender and race of the past 115 justices: CNN Article

"Former US Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg will get statues on the grounds of the US Capitol after President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill into law to erect them.

The House passed the bill last month in a 349 to 63 vote, sending it to Biden’s desk, after it cleared the Senate by unanimous consent in December 2021.

The legislation stipulates that the statues should be placed within two years of its enactment, and that priority should be given to a location near the old Supreme Court chamber in the Senate wing of the Capitol.

O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the high court, after President Ronald Reagan nominated her in 1981. She became an influential author of decisions on abortion rights, racial affirmative action, criminal procedures and an array of social issues during her quarter century tenure before retiring in 2006 as her husband’s health worsened. She revealed in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with the “beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ginsburg was appointed to the high court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She consistently delivered progressive votes on divisive social issues, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights and affirmative action, and became known for her fierce dissents in key cases, often involving civil rights or equal protection.

She died in 2020 at age 87 due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer.

Following her death, congressional Democrats, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, introduced legislation to create a monument on Capitol Hill in Ginsburg’s honor.

Klobuchar said on Twitter Wednesday that the statues of O’Connor and Ginsburg would be a “permanent reminder of how they opened doors for women at a time when so many insisted on keeping them shut.”

Missed Our Previous Blogs? Check these out!

Rosie the Riveter's Riveting Story -- Find out the connection to Jackie Kennedy's fashion designer and Rosalind Palmer Walter (major funder of public television).

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