Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020.
Ginsburg was born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Ginsburg spent much of her legal career as an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights, winning many arguments before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsel in the 1970s. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents. She was playfully and notably dubbed “The Notorious R.B.G.” by a law student, a reference to the late Brooklyn-born rapper The Notorious B.I.G., and she later embraced the moniker.
In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and in 1973, she became the Project’s general counsel. Ginsburg authored the court’s opinion in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), which struck down the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) male-only admissions policy as violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Ginsburg discussed her views on abortion and gender equality in a 2009 New York Times interview, in which she said about abortion “[t]he basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.