The Notorious RBG: The Life & Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a force to be reckoned with. Brought up in Brooklyn. Raised by Jewish immigrants. She was determined to succeed.

The book The Notorious RBG chronicles her life, with references to words of advice. “RBG often repeated her mother’s advice that getting angry was a waste of your own time.” And shared her mother-in-law’s advice that sometimes it’s best to be a little deaf. Crediting these beliefs as helpful in creating a healthy marriage.

Before becoming notorious, RBG graduated high school at the top of her class. After high school, she attended Cornell University and then Harvard Law School.

Despite her credentials, she had difficulty obtaining work. RBG had three strikes against her. She was Jewish. She was a woman. And she was a mother. She was rejected as a clerk to the Supreme Court, and she was turned down by a New York law firm.  The firm had already hired one woman and felt that one was enough.  Eventually she found work as a law clerk with a federal judge.

After clerking, RBG went on to teach law at several universities. While teaching, RBG appeared before the Supreme Court on many equality related cases. Acknowledging that “change in our society is incremental… Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time… Present the court with the next logical step… then the next and then the next. Don’t ask them to go too fast, or you’ll lose what you might have won.”

Following her time as a professor, RBG was appointed to the bench. Part of RBG’s success goes to her supportive husband, who encouraged and enabled her to reach new heights. Ten days before his death in 2010, he wrote in a note to her that “… What a treat it has been to watch you progress to the very top of the legal world!!!…”

While working at the Supreme Court, RBG keeps a disciplined schedule. In writing decisions, her mantra is to “Get it right and keep it tight… If you can say it in plain English, you should.” She writes numerous drafts until getting it right, noting that: “I think that law should be a literary profession… and the best legal practitioners regard law as an art as well as a craft.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is truly an inspirational woman.

(Views are my own and do not represent the views of any organization.)

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