Ruth Bader Ginsburg Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a US Supreme Court justice.


Birth date: March 15, 1933

Death date: September 18, 2020

Birth place: Brooklyn, New York

Birth name: Joan Ruth Bader

Father: Nathan Bader, merchant

Mother: Celia (Amster) Bader

Marriage: Martin David Ginsburg (June 23, 1954-June 27, 2010, his death)

Children: Jane Carol and James Steven

Education: Cornell University, B.A., 1954; Harvard Law School, 1956-1958; Kent scholar, Columbia Law School, LL.B., 1959

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts

Served on the DC federal appeals court with Justice Clarence Thomas.

Launched American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project.

Named one of Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women from 2004 through 2011.

Nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993.


1959-1961 - Law clerk to a judge in the US District Court, Southern District of New York.

1961-1963 - Research associate and associate director, Project of International Procedure at Columbia Law School.

1963-1972 - Professor at Rutgers University School of Law.

1972-1980 - Professor at Columbia University School of Law. She is the first woman to be hired with tenure at Columbia University School of Law.

1973-1980 - General counsel for the ACLU.

1977-1978 - Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California.

1980-1993 - Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

August 10, 1993 - Is sworn in as Supreme Court justice filling the seat held by Justice Byron White.

September 1999 - Has successful surgery for colon cancer.

October 1999-June 2000 - Undergoes chemotherapy for colon cancer following the surgery.

December 12, 2000 - Is one of the four dissenting votes in Bush v. Gore which resolves the disputed 2000 presidential election in favor of Texas Governor George W. Bush.

October 5, 2002 - Is inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

January 26, 2007 - In a speech at Suffolk Law School, Ginsburg says she dislikes being the only woman on the Supreme Court. Ginsburg says she has disagreed with former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “on a lot of important questions, but we have had the experience of growing up women and we have certain sensitivities that our male colleagues lack.”

February 5-13, 2009 - Has surgery and treatment for early stages of pancreatic cancer.

March 17, 2009 - It is announced that Ginsburg will be undergoing chemotherapy to treat her pancreatic cancer.

August 9, 2010 - Receives the American Bar Association’s highest honor, the ABA medal.

August 31, 2013 - Becomes the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex marriage ceremony.

November 26, 2014 - Undergoes a heart procedure to have a stent placed in her right coronary artery.

February 20, 2016 - Attends the funeral of her High Court colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Ginsburg was a longtime family friend of Justice Scalia. He once said they were an “odd couple” and he counted her as his “best buddy” on the bench.

July 11, 2016 - Criticizes Donald Trump, calling the presumptive Republican presidential nominee a “faker.” A few days later, she issues an apology and says the remarks were inappropriate for a judge to make.

January 2018 - Indicates, by the hiring of law clerks for at least two more terms, the intention to stay on the Supreme Court bench at least until 2020.

July 29, 2018 - During a speaking appearance, Ginsburg says she plans to stay on the Supreme Court for “at least five more years.”

November 8, 2018 - Ginsburg is admitted to George Washington University for observation following a fall in her Supreme Court office that fractured three ribs. She is released from the hospital the following day.

December 21, 2018 - The Supreme Court announces Ginsburg had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung at a New York hospital. There is no evidence of any remaining disease, says a court spokesperson, nor is there evidence of disease elsewhere in the body.

August 23, 2019 - The Supreme Court announces Ginsburg has been treated for pancreatic cancer in New York. “The tumor was treated definitively, and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the court says.

October 23, 2019 - Ginsburg wins the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture for her contributions to social justice and general equality. The $1 million award for championing human rights will go to a nonprofit of her choosing.

November 22, 2019 - Ginsburg is admitted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after experiencing chills and a fever. She is released on November 24.

January 7, 2020 - Ginsburg tells CNN that she is “cancer free.”

February 10, 2020 - Ginsburg suggests that the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment as a constitutional amendment has expired and that the decades long effort must start anew. “I would like to see a new beginning,” Ginsburg told an audience at Georgetown University Law Center.

May 5, 2020 - Undergoes nonsurgical treatment for a benign gallbladder condition at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, a court spokeswoman says in a statement. On May 6, Ginsburg participates in the Supreme Court’s teleconference hearing from the hospital, and is discharged from the hospital later in the day.

July 14, 2020 - Is treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for a possible infection, according to a court spokeswoman. Ginsburg is discharged from the hospital the next day.

July 17, 2020 - Ginsburg announces that her cancer has reemerged and she has been undergoing chemotherapy since May. She says she is “fully able” to remain a member of the Court.

July 29, 2020 - A statement from the court says Ginsburg is resting comfortably in a New York City hospital after undergoing a “minimally invasive non-surgical procedure” to replace a bile duct stent that was originally placed last year. She is expected to be discharged from the hospital by the end of the week.

August 26, 2020 - Ginsburg is selected as this year’s recipient of the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal “for her efforts to advance liberty and equality for all.”

September 18, 2020 - Ginsburg dies due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, according to the court.

September 29, 2020 - Ginsburg is laid to rest in a private ceremony after being the first woman to lie in state in the US Capitol.

April 13, 2022 - President Joe Biden signs a bipartisan bill into law to erect statues of Ginsberg and Sandra Day O’Connor on the grounds of the US Capitol. The legislation stipulates that the statues should be placed within two years of its enactment.