May 23


This biography highlights the life of Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  It shows a variety of archive footage from her early years as a law student, law professor, and lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court in the 1970s.  You see clips of her as a grandmother, clips of her long time love and husband, Martin, and you hear funny interviews with Ginsburg’s children recounting their mother’s lack of cooking skills and calm demeanor.  She has become a cultural icon among the young and old, much of it coming from her opposition to the Court’s conservative opinions that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, made George W. Bush president in 2000, and allowed for religious reasons why a company can refuse to pay for birth control.

Image result for rbg   Image result for rbg


  1. How is Ginsburg’s story a typical American success story?  How is atypical?  Explain.
  2. What kinds of discrimination did Ginsburg face in her earlier career?  Do you think things have changed much since the 1960s for women in the legal profession?
  3. How has Ginsburg act as a champion for women’s rights throughout her career?  Explain w/ specifics.

Due by Monday, June 4 by class.  

Posted May 23, 2018 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

20 thoughts on “RBG

  1. Nicholas Haddad

    1. Ginsburg embodies both an American success story, but also defies the gender roles imposed upon women at the time, making her life atypical in a way. Her parents emigrated from Russia and settled in Brooklyn, NY as Jewish immigrants. Despite their troubles at times, her parents were both very supportive in her upbringing, pushing her to continue hard work in school. Ruth was always ahead of the pack, and once she graduated high school, she enrolled in Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, which at the time was predominantly male. Her mother had passed away when she was just 17 years old, and as Ruth progressed through college, she held onto her advice to be independent and be a lady. While at Cornell, she met her husband Marty who adored her and was the yin to her yang. She was the quiet, reserved, yet brilliant student, while he was the outgoing, comedic party-goer. When he became sick with cancer, she copied all of his notes and sacrificed free time to keep him on top of assignments. Their commitment to one another also showed when Marty got a job in New York and Ruth transferred from Harvard Law to Columbia. Both of them progressed in their respective professions, with Marty becoming a prominent tax lawyer in New York, and Ruth becoming a lawyer who argued several cases at the Supreme Court, and eventually, was appointed to both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court in 1993. Her story was clearly one of modest living to one of success and fame. The one aspect of her story that makes it atypical, however, is that she is a woman. Most “American success stories” are of men rising from the bottom to the top. Yet, she managed to do just the same thing as a woman, erasing the barriers and prejudicated opinions that people had about women being able to rise up from hardships.

    2. From the beginning, Ruth faced opposition and criticism from her peers and superiors. At Cornell, there were four men to every woman, and as a result, women were often subjected to harassment and unfair treatment. Ruth recalled women not being called on in class because their contributions weren’t as valued as men’s words. She was one of two students to make the Law Review at Harvard, and eventually Columbia, but her deans and professors continually asked her what she was doing as a member of the Law Review when the spot she filled could be given to a man. She took a job at Rutgers as a professor of Gender Law, and while here, she began her career with the Supreme Court, winning five out of six cases tried as a partner in the Women’s Rights Project. She set a precedent here for the rest of her law career. I do think that as a result of the work of people like Ginsburg, Steinem, Friedan, and several other activists, we as a society have made some project when it comes to sex discrimination in the workplace and education. However, there is still a long way to go. I remember in the film that RBG’s granddaughter mentioned that this year (2017) was the first year at Harvard Law School that the class was evenly divided with 50% men and 50% women. The fact that this is being achieved now suggests that there is still a gap between opportunities for men and women. The wage gap is still an issue, despite the work that Ginsburg has done.

    3. Though recently she has dissented to major cases advocating for minority and women rights, the precedent that she set for her stance on women’s rights can be most attributed to her first major cases as a lawyer and in the Supreme Court. In 1972, Ginsburg won the argument for Frontiero in Frontiero v. Richardson, where Frontiero tried to get her husband a dependent benefit, but couldn’t do so because the law prohibited it and treated men and women differently when it came to benefits like this. 8 justices supported Ginsburg’s argument. Another case, Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, entailed Ginsburg challenging a law that gave survivor’s benefits to men if their wives died, but not the other way around. She won the case, ensuring that women could receive equal protection under the law. Throughout her career, she was an open advocate for abortion, and even in her Senate hearing to be nominated, she stated her opinion despite a partial conservative panel of senators. A prominent case on women’s discrimination in education occurred in 1996 with United States v. Virginia. A female student wanted to enroll in the Virginia Military Institute, but was refused admission on the basis of gender. Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion that declared VMI’s discrimination based on gender unconstitutional based on the 14th amendment. A final prominent court case was decided in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, which highlighted the wage discrimination gap that existed. Ledbetter was an employee who was paid significantly less than colleagues (men) in the same position as her. Ginsburg composed a steamy dissenting opinion, and from here on out, pressed for the closing of the wage gap. Eventually, her prodding resulted in success with Obama’s passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Today, she travels the country speaking to colleges and students as an advocate for women’s rights. She is truly an icon that has not only fought for her beliefs, but earned success as well.

  2. Isabelle

    Isabelle Borr

    How is Ginsburg’s story a typical American success story? How is atypical? Explain.
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in the time after the great depression and grew up with hardship. Her life can be seen as a rag to riches story, but not in a typical sense more like rags to the supreme court. She grew up with Russian Jewish immigrants, like many people during this time she was a first generation american. This part is typical, many people including mine own roots can be traced back to Russian immigrant. What is atypical is how far she got in education. In those days, the domestic sphere was very much a concept. Women should stay in the kitchen while the men go out and get an education and earn money. For Ruth, she attended Ivy League for college and law school; top of her class. She found a man who realized how smart she was before her looks which is why she married him.
    What kinds of discrimination did Ginsburg face in her earlier career? Do you think things have changed much since the 1960s for women in the legal profession?
    As a woman, Ruth faced discrimination in the workplace and school. She was the only woman who graduated with top honors yet could not be hired by any law firm. They refused to hire a woman, even recommended by a friend. This showed they did not care in the slightest that she was a lawyer who knew her stuff so she went to teaching. I believe things have changed in the sense that women can get jobs when they’re top honors, but they are still not seen on the same level as their peers.
    How has Ginsburg act as a champion for women’s rights throughout her career? Explain w/ specifics.
    In Virginia vs. The United States, the only all boys military academy was being challenged to allow women in. There was great push back saying that it would ruin the school, but RBG persisted and knew it was wrong overruled the ban. Another example is Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, even though she wrote the dissenting opinion she expressed how she should get compensation.

  3. Dorian Campillo

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story is a typical American success story in many ways. One way is that she grew up in a family that did not have much. In addition to her childhood, her mother died when she was 17. Like many other stories like RBG’s many American success stories happen after someone experienced a tough childhood. Later on, RBG kept rising up as she attended the elite Cornell college. She later on became a very good lawyer until she peaked when she was appointed to be a Supreme Court Justice. Again, like many other successful people, RBG had to grow from a nobody to one of the most important people in America. Many stories like these are also like this. She also faced issues like discrimination based on sex. This is also common as many people had to face other similar challenges from other people. Lastly, she has become an idol for many people. However, her story is also atypical in the way that she is a minority. Being a minority often keeps you at the bottom of the chain, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg managed to rise all the way up despite challenges from sexists.
    Some discrimination she faced has to do with how her story was an atypical American success story. RBG had to face men constantly bashing her. She was also one of the few women at Cornell Law School (which is also where she met her husband Marty). She then soon became a well known lawyer, as she won many of her Supreme Court cases that she was called for. She was always the underdog in this situation, but the fact that she still one Supreme Court Cases is incredible. Her friend also recalled that these cases were tough to win as they were both women in a room mainly full of men. I do think that things have changed in the women legal profession since the 1960s. Sure there are still many ways women are discriminated against like how they gain not nearly as much money as men, but there have been improvements in the last 50 years. There is still a lot of women’s discrimination but I believe it is slowly going away. There has also been a big increase in women in the legal profession in the last 50 years.
    RBG has acted as a champion for women all over the US. She is idolized by so many people that people have started calling her the Notorious RBG. People have written books about her, created memes about her being a superhero for women, etc. RBG has shown that despite her being the “inferior” sex in the late 20th century, putting up a fight for what you believe in (in this case women’s rights) and believing in a good cause will end with benefits. RBG has inspired many people through things like having to live with her husband getting cancer twice. SHe had to take care of him and her child everyday despite still having a job. She often got two hours of sleep at a time. Not only did her husband eventually die pretty young, but she was also diagnosed with cancer twice before (one was pancreatic cancer the other I don’t remember). RBG has also stood up to Donald Trump which proves her braveness even though she was basically forced to apologize. She’s been insulted many times before as we see at the beginning of the movie but nothing has stopped her. She also said that she would not retire until she felt her job was officially done and she could not keep going. She truly is an inspiration.

  4. Devin Woodruff (3rd Hour)

    1. Ginsburg could be seen as a typical American success story by her success and that she pushed for woman rights and she made her goal. This could be seen as that she was able to complete her goal without anything extreme going wrong and that she is still alive today fighting for her rights that they believe in. Also it could be decried as atypical because of her background in begin someone who is a Jewish immigrant. Which would make things hard for her and when going to school. Especially during her time at Cornell which she had a hard time since the university is made up mostly of men. & the percentage of women in low is even lower. Furthermore, this connects to my point because this isn’t a typical story. Not every day you see some that is apart of the Jewish community and have so many people be mean to them. Moreover, most success stories are rich people that rise to the top by paying their way there and they are mostly white that get there.

    2. During Ginsberg career she faced many troubles thought out her life. By one of the main troubles that she faced which was gender bias. On a daily basic she was attacked on her gender during her early life as a lawyer. With this time period people did not believe that she would be able to do her job just because she was a woman. Woman were seen as someone that is soft, emotion and that should be a stay at home mom. But Ruth wasn’t that kind of person. She wanted to impact people’s life and impact others so someone would be inspire to do what should would be able to later on down the world. Furthermore, I believe that there has been some changes for woman in legal profession but there is still a lot more than needs to happen in order to break the barrier. Especially opportunities have opened on for woman like Hillary Clinton becoming the democracy nominee which showed a huge barrier that was broken on a society that tends not to favor women. Also, there are now more opportunities for woman to become first chair lawyers and or to lead the trials. But also I would have say that something have gotten worse towards the increased in number of sexual abuse and the wage gap in woman and men lawyers. Female lawyers earn 77 percent of male lawyers salary which just shows how till this day we still under value woman. Moreover, once she also had a hard time towards attending Cornell University. During this time period men mostly men were a part of that university and there were even more men in law than there were woman.

    3. Ginsburg has done many things to try to act as an advocate for woman and or fight for woman rights. She’s done many things like starting the ACLU, woman’s rights project. With this project she was hoping that she would be able to inspire other young people especially woman to know that they are be lawyers too and that there was a support system there for them. Also she worried about the case Weinberger v. Wisenfeld where she said that “a gender line helps to keep woman not on a pedestal but in a cage. Right there in these few lines you can see how she was trying to fight for woman and how they are put within a gender box. Furthermore, down the line she helped to pass a bill with president Obama the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act of 2009 which was put in to place to make sure that people weren’t allow to have discrimination based on if you were a woman and to have gender equality in the work place. Also anther case would be Frontiero V. Richardson where Ginsberg tried to help with woman benefits and create a separation between the woman and men.

  5. Henry Berthel

    1. Ginsburg embodies the definition of the “American dream”. She is a first generation immigrant on her father’s side, and neither of her parents had a college education. However, she worked extremely hard and she became successful because of it, which is typical for a success story. She had to overcome many challenges, including discrimination against her gender, supporting her child, supporting her husband when he had cancer and still making Harvard law review, and being in a male-dominated field of work when it was looked down upon. Even though she had these problems, she still kept working very hard and she got what she wanted, which is typical in many success stories. Although a person works extremely hard in many success stories, Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked an abnormal amount, even for a success story. After coming home from being in the top 25 lawyers at the most difficult and prestigious law school in the country, she had to take care of a child and also take care of her sick husband. She only was getting two hours of sleep a night while being at such a difficult school, which is not typical of a normal person, even when it’s a success story.

    2. Ginsburg faced many cases of discrimination in her career. In law school, she was not let into certain places or allowed to do certain things because she was a woman. People told her that she was taking away a spot in law school from other men. She also was always being glared at by men in her classes, as she was one of nine women in a class of hundreds of men. Since it was extremely uncommon and looked down upon for a woman to be in that profession then, she was discriminated against often. However, she continued to work and became a supreme court justice, which allowed more women to be let in to the legal profession overtime, as it became more normal. Things have changed since the 1960s. In the movie, they said that in 2017, Harvard law school was 50% women for the first time ever.

    3. Ginsburg has acted as a champion for women’s rights throughout her career because she has fought for them in court cases, and she has never given up on being amazing at the legal profession, even though it was looked down upon for women at the time. One of the main cases that she did that helped expand women’s rights was United States v. Virginia in 1996. Before this case, the Virginia Military Institute was only accepting males. One woman wanted to attend it, so she brought the case to the supreme court. Ginsburg helped make sure that she won the case. Not only did this expand the rights of women in one way, but it also was symbolic and showed that she was willing to fight for women. There were many other cases like these that she participated in, fighting for gender equality, so she was seen as a champion for women’s rights.

  6. Neve Robinson

    1. I think Supreme Justice Ginsburg is a typical american success story because it is a great example how America is the land of opportunity. Supreme Justice Ginsburg’s parents were both hard working immigrants, working to make sure their daughter had a better life then them, which some people might say is the american dream. Then Supreme Justice Ginsburg used her intelligence and drive to become what she is today, The notorious RBG. I also think Supreme Justice Ginsburg’s story displays an american success story because she was sort of the underdog, one of the only woman in her Harvard class, she overcame the odds of being a women and trying to get to where she wanted. However It differs because I think most people don’t have the same amount of support from their spouse as Supreme Justice Ginsburg did. Marty, her husband basically put himself to the side and pulled all of his strings to get her into her role today. This differs because especially in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s men usually felt threatened by the women being the one with the powerful job but Marty didn’t.

    2. Supreme Justice Ginsburg faced quite a bit of judgement in her earlier career as a lawyer and as a female college student. Supreme Justice Ginsburg faced tons of judgement when she went to Harvard to further her education, in the documentary saying that the professors wouldn’t call on her because they didn’t think a women could handle the classes. Supreme Justice Ginsburg also faced judgement coming out of college looking for a job, she was turned down by multiple firms solely on the fact that she was a women. Whereas her husband, who had pretty much had the same qualifications, found an amazing job easily. I for sure think that women are taken more seriously than they were in the 60’s especially in the workplace and most of that is to do with Supreme Justice Ginsburg’s cases that she won. I think even though in some places the wage gap is still there, we have closed it a lot more since the 60’s. I also think that now women are able to take on powerful roles in the workplace without men feeling threatened.

    3. Supreme Justice Ginsburg saw the discrimination from her own life, that things needed to change, so she took on an important role with ACLU. Her role was take on big cases, that she thought she could win, to change the way women are treated under the law. She used her knowledge to win cases like Frontiero vs. Richardson which basically made it so male and female army member have to be treated and compensated equally. Changing another aspect of how women were treated in the workplace.

  7. Jake Stollman

    1) To compare Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story to the epochal American success story, we must first define the path of said story. That story being, in my opinion, “to go from rags to riches, through hardship, and change the country/world.” I would say that, for the most part, Ginsburg’s story stays the course of this story. The only difference is perhaps that her “rags,” meaning disadvantage, was not economic, but social. Even after the progressive era, Ginsburg was at a large disadvantage for one reason: she was a woman with dreams surpassing being a housewife. She was accepted into Cornell, though her mother whom she dearly loved passed away the day before graduation. At Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Women were outnumbered fourfold. She then attended Harvard Law School, where the imbalance was even greater- in a school of over 500 men, there were nine women. She faced major discrimination there, where the Dean accosted each woman there, saying to them, “How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?” Ruth would later go to Columbia when moving to NYC, where she became the first woman to be on two law reviews (Harvard and Columbia) in history. Once she graduated, she was denied lawyership in every firm in New York City. However, she would go on to be a sex discrimination lawyer, where she fought for women’s rights in the Highest Court and gained successes such as fourteenth amendment protection for women, questioned the value of voluntary jury duty for women, equalized the alcoholic beverage age of Oklahoma between men and women, and many more. She was finally nominated to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton. While in the Supreme Court, she made many groundbreaking decisions protecting not only women’s rights, but abortion and search-and-seizure. It is evident that she follows the story closely. She faced hardship from those who either did not believe in or actively opposed her. But she has changed the United States by ruling on many progressive decisions from the Supreme Court and has become an iconic lawyer. The only stray from the story is her family life, which showed that she did have some ease to her life- but it is impossible to live up to the myth in the most literal sense, and if anyone has followed it, it is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    2) As mentioned, Ruth faced dire opposition in her dreams. Though her mother supported her, she died the day before Ginsburg had graduated. She went to Cornell, but faced more discrimination at Harvard, including from the Dean, who asked why the girls at the school thought that they could replace men. Ruth also recalled women not being called on in classes because their input was not as valued. Once she had graduated, she also faced discrimination in not being able to find a lawyering job in NYC. Once she became a partner with the Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg faced the Supreme Court on multiple occasions, where she encountered opposition there. Here, she set a precedent for the woman lawyer. For most of US history, the law was inaccessible or near-inaccessible to women. But Ginsburg, along with other, more general activists like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, have brought the age of women in law. For example, in 2016-2017, we saw the first school year in which there were more women Law School students than men, as compared to just over 1% at Harvard when RBG attended it. This means that the legal profession for women has most certainly became more attainable.
    3) Ruth Bader Ginsburg is often called ‘Notorious’ for a reason. She is notoriously dedicated to Women’s Equality, defending it throughout her career. She is one of the most prolific lawyers ever, and women’s rights are her signature cases. Among these are Duren v. Missouri, in which Ginsburg argued against women having only voluntary jury duty, or Frontiero v. Richardson, where Ginsburg established that it was illegal to discriminate in administrative convenience between genders. Also, in Califano v. Goldfarb, Ginsburg argued that men should get survivor’s rights as women do. She fought valiantly for women’s rights in many other cases, leading to her moniker “The Great Dissenter.” The myriad cases in which she fought for women’s rights and equality led her to be the champion of justice that she is known as today.

  8. Carolina Ishikura

    1. Ginsburg’s story can be defined as a typical success story because she persevered and became more than what she expected. Coming from a low-income family her mother influenced and inspired Ruth to be an independent woman. In addition, her mother taught her to value education because she did not attend college herself. Her mother worked very hard for her family but she unfortunately died when Ruth was only a teenager. Ruth continued to follow her mother’s ideals and she worked diligently for college. Ginsberg attended Ivy Leagues such as Cornell, Harvard, and Columbia. She persevered during her college years when she became a mother. Along with being a mother she had face the challenges of being one of eight females in a class of five hundred. Her husband (Marty) makes her story a bit atypical because there were very few people that were like him in the 50s. Marty was open-minded and didn’t mind Ruth’s presence at prestigious school. Ruth was very lucky to come across a man like Marty. I remember in the film Marty jokingly stated that he was a better cook than Ruth. This was so uncommon in households around the 1950/60s, which shows how dedicated Ruth was to her career and how Marty didn’t feel threatened by Ruth.

    2. The film mentioned that Ruth was the top of her class when she graduated at Columbia Law but she encountered discrimination while seeking employment. Before graduating, even attending law school intimidated her fellow students. As mentioned before, Ruth was one of eight with a class of 500. The film also mentioned that Harvard’s dean berated the women for taking the places of men. In response, Ruth became the first female in the Harvard Law Review. I do think things have changed since the 1960s for women in the legal profession because there are more women pursuing a career in law more than ever. Ruth’s granddaughter even mentioned that 2017 was the first year that Harvard’s law class was split evenly between men and women.

    3. While juggling her job and kids, Ruth argued six cases of gender inequality. I remember one case was about the Social Security Act and how it favored women over men, and Ruth fought for the recently widowed husband. The case was Weinberger v. Weisenfeld, Weisenfeld lost his wife at childbirth and the Social Security Act only benefited widowed women rather than men. This case stood out for me because Ginsburg was defending a man that was being punished for his gender. I believe that this was Ginsburg’s most clever case because she fought for a man in the case of inequality. Another case was Frontiero v. Richardson which was about a woman in the Air Force that sought to give her husband benefits. Frontiero’s work colleagues were able to give their wives benefits so Fronteiro fought for equality. These cases make Ginsburg a champion for women’s rights because she won almost all of them and inspired others. In addition, Ginsburg’s contributions in the Supreme Court represents a new hope in the future.

  9. Ro Durand

    Ruth’s story is a typical American dream success story because neither of her parents went to college and her family was not extremely rich. She faced oppression, struggles, and challenges while on her way to the top. While being Jewish and having immigrant parents, her family did not have a lot of advantages, but they supported her and encouraged her to work her hardest in school, and to never give up. When she got accepted into Law school at Harvard she dedicated all of her time to studying and becoming successful. She stayed strong when her husband had cancer and she had to take care of her child. She got about 2 hours of sleep from taking care of her daughter, doing her work, and writing up her husbands work. She had definitely at this point in her career had become more successful than both of her parents, but still had a way to go until she become the Associate Supreme Court Justice. Although she did live the American dream, the people of the time saw what she was doing and called it crazy. It wasn’t common for women to go into law school, and when Ruth was looking for firms to work at, most of them denied her and said that they don’t hire women.

    Starting at law school Ruth faced discrimination. She was one of nine girls in her class out of 500 men. The teachers wouldn’t take her seriously, and in class seminars when teachers would commonly call on students to answer questions, the teacher would never call on the girls. Ruth said that maybe the teachers wouldn’t call on the girls because if they knew the answer when the guys did not, then they would outshine the men, and that was ‘bad’. Women in the law force were never taken seriously, and even when she had graduated from cornell with good remarks from the teachers, no law firms wanted to hire her solely because she is a women. When Ruth was facing the Supreme Court for her first time she was concerned that the men weren’t listening to her because she was a women. I think things have changed a lot since the 1960’s for women in the legal profession, more women are going into law school and are being accepted in the workplace for law. Some people still don’t take women seriously when in such a profession, or think that they are too dumb for the job. Things have changed, but there’s still work to do.

    Ginsberg was someone who wasn’t into the women’s rights marches and protests. She decided that if things were to change for women, she needed to take them to the Supreme Court. She argued in Reed v. Reed to extended the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to women. In Frontiero v. Richardson Ginsburg argued the statute treated women as inferior, and the Supreme Court ruled 8–1 in her favor. Ginsburg told the court’s opinion in United States v. Virginia, which struck down the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) male-only admissions policy as violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ruth has championed for women’s rights through the constitution by proving that men and women are equal. She also defends women’s abortion rights because it’s their body, the government shouldn’t take away the choice that a women should make.

  10. Abby N

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story is one that embodies the “American dream” and the “self-made man” mentality that so many americans strive to achieve even to this day. Both of her parents came from Russia as immigrants and settled in NYC. Eventually she attended an Ivy League University where she met her future husband and graduated with honors. Eventually she attended Harvard Law, yet transferred to Columbia due to her husband’s relocation. This story is what may be defined as the “typical American success story” and can be seen through many other notable icons including John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, who both created very successful businesses seemingly out of nothing. Although her story can be found in others, the time period she grew up in and her gender creates a twist on the classic tale. Her upbringing is quite different and leans more towards modern times. Both of her parents pushed her to be her best, and her mother was one of her greatest supporters. At the time, many women were still trapped in the mentality that the men go off to work and the women stay at home, yet Ginsburg defied that stereotype. Because she was a woman, she was often denied different jobs and positions despite being more than qualified for the role. Yet she persisted, and continued searching despite the limited number of women in her field. Eventually she found a job as a professor at her alma mater, Columbia, where she was still one of a few women teaching her subject. Although this may not seem all that atypical, her story defies the stereotype of the time and continues to inspire numbers today.
    One surprising statistic mentioned in the film was that for every four men who attended Cornell, one women attended. That means that roughly 80% of her class was male and women were strongly outnumbered. At Harvard, professors wouldn’t call on her solely because of her gender, and she was questioned daily about her choice of profession. One person even asked why she was studying law when the position could have been given to a male. Despite graduating Colombia with honors and tied first for her class, finding a job was difficult. On the contrary, Ginsburg’s husband who had almost all of the same qualifications, found an amazing job easily. This continued, with many firms denying her positions only on the basis that they didn’t think a women could handle the job as well as a man can. Throughout her career she had to prove herself and her education so much more than any man in her field, and yet she still faced missed opportunities only on the basis of gender. Ginsburg’s story is inspirational, and the progress made between then and now is evident. 2017 was the first year that Harvard Law School was evenly split between men and women, which proves how the times have changed not only mentality but also careers. Yet despite this, problems still occur. The wage gap is still prevalent and continues to cause problems and promote activism. One recent campaign is the #MeToo movement, which was featured as the Time person of the year and focuses on sexual harassment in the workplace, causing a spark within working women. Personally, I do believe progress has been made since Ginsberg’s time, and radical sexism has come to somewhat of a halt, yet I also believe there is still progress to be made and it is important not to forget that.
    Ginsberg has acted as a champion for women’s rights in multiple ways. She joined the Women’s Rights Project which led her to bring notable women’s rights cases to the supreme court, where she won five out of six of her cases. Ginsburg was also a very forward thinker and a large supporter of abortion, stating this in front of the Senate in her hearing to be nominated despite the controversy surrounding the topic. She was also the second woman to be nominated for the supreme court, leading her to have the “notorious” vibe about her. In 1996, a case was brought to the supreme court called United States vs. Virginia, which involved a female student wishing to attend the Virginia Military Academy, yet being denied on the basis of sex. Eventually, the case was won for the female student and Ginsberg wrote the majority opinion that the rejection was unconstitutional based on the 14th amendment, and the student could enroll in the school. One of Ginsburg’s most influential cases was Ledbetter vs. Goodyear where the plaintiff, Lily Ledbetter, noticed she was being paid significantly less, almost $1,000 less a month, than her male colleagues. In the end, Ledbetter lost the case against Goodyear due to the statute of limitations, yet Ginsburg dissented. She read the dissenting opinion from the bench, a rare occasion, and stated that discrimination happens over time and not just within the 180 time frame. She called out Congress to change this law and allow for more fairness in gender discrimination cases. This case caused Ginsburg to become an active advocate for the termination of the wage gap. In 2009, Former President Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act into law, which amended the previous statute of limitations, and Ginsberg was credited for pushing the Act to where it needed to be.

  11. Nicole Bastian

    1. Ginsburg’s story is both a typical American success story, as well as an atypical story. Ginsberg was one who always worked very hard at the things she did, getting her further than most. In addition, both of her parents were immigrants from Russia, helping her to learn that things can be tough but you need to be tougher. This also provided another example of America being the land of opportunity (which was a somewhat common theme). Although, on the more unusual side for her time, Ginsburg was always very successful in school and made it further than most girls. Ginsberg grew up in the time where spheres of domesticity were a big thing, creating the idea that men should be getting the education and earning the money while the women should be at home. Ginsburg defied this idea by working as hard as she did and attending an ivy league school, where she finished at the top of her class. While she was in college, she met a man who (again, unusual for the time) actually appreciated her for her intelligence. They went on to get married a number of years later.

    2. Early in her career, Ginsburg had to face a lot of discrimination regarding her gender. Getting into Cornell is hard enough and being a woman did not help at this time. Once Ginsburg was already attending the college, the dean called down her and the other women attending the school. He proceeded to tell them that they were taking up a chair that could be used to educate a man, as if it was suppose to make them feel guilty. In reality, this created more pressure for these ladies because they wouldn’t only be failing themselves if they were to fail, but they would be proving that men are superior. In addition, getting as high up in the law as she did was a challenge because many people did not want to hire women, no matter how smart they were. I believe that things have changed since the 1960s for women in the legal profession, but not very much. There have been four women who have served on the supreme court (with one being retired today), which is better than none. Although we are making a step in the right direction, I feel that there are more opportunities that women should have. If you think about it, a women has never been the president of America, which I personally believe says something in its own. Out of 45 presidents, not a single one has been a woman.

    3. Ginsburg has acted as an advocate for women’s right throughout her career in many ways. If there was a dissenting view on a case, that was typically because of Ginsburg. Ginsburg just about never agreed with the side that would prove that women are inferior, because she was a strong believer that both genders are equal. Ginsberg made a big impact in the Virginia V. United States case, where she insisted that it is not right for the military school of Virginia to only allow men. She found no reason that women should not be allowed to attend the school because they are in no way inferior. This caused women to be admitted into the previously all boys school. Ginsburg also made a difference with the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company case. In this case she fought for women regarding the wage gap. Eventually, because of this case, there was a Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed. Ginsburg has done many amazing things and she continues to amaze as she works hard everyday, despite her age, which is truly inspiring to others.

  12. Philip Bradbury

    How is Ginsburg’s story a typical American success story? How is atypical? Explain. The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is very unique. It has the basics of any typical American success story, but also contains atypical aspects. For example, she grew up in a low income, working-class household in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was had a huge influence on her life, but unfortunately died before she graduated high school. Ginsburg graduated from Cornell University in 1954 where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in government. She got married the same year to a law student named Martin Ginsburg. After her marriage and after having 2 kids, she and her husband returned to college, enrolling at Harvard University where she studied law. She then transferred again to Columbia when her husband took a new job. After graduating from Columbia, she went on to clerk for U.S. District Judge Palmieri, and after that, she taught at Rutgers and Columbia where she became the school’s first female professor to hold office. She fought for women’s rights with her newfound power in several different appeals to the Supreme Court, 5 of which she won. In 1980, during Carter’s presidency, Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. Then in 1993, she was appointed by President Clinton to the Supreme Court in order to control the conservative dominance of the court at the time. This is just one of the many “American Dreams” that people today have in the U.S., but was very different from other stories at the time because Ginsburg was a woman. Born in 1933, Ginsburg had faced male dominance in her profession all throughout college and her pursuit for office. For example, when at Harvard, Ginsburg was met with a hostile, male dominated class of only 8 females out of over 500 students. While looking for employment, she also was looking for a way to make a change. While she was a teacher, she also served as Director of the Women’s Rights Project of American Civil Liberties Union (for which the fought the several cases mentioned before). This kind of domination in her field and empowerment to fight back is what was atypical about Ginsburg’s story and is what makes her so special.
    What kinds of discrimination did Ginsburg face in her earlier career? Do you think things have changed much since the 1960s for women in the legal profession? In the beginning of her career, she was faced with criticism while learning at Rutgers and Columbia from men who opposed her being on the Law Review at both schools, saying that the spot should be given to a man. When she taught at Rutgers and Columbia, she was faced with the same kind of oppression by males while teaching Gender Law. When Ginsburg took the job as Supreme Court Justice years later, she continued to fight for women’s rights which helped change the world we now live in. Even though there still are some cases of discrimination among gender today, her effort, along with the effort of many others, has drastically decreased discrimination against women from wat it was when she was born in the early 20th century and hopefully will continue to impact us as time goes on.
    How has Ginsburg act as a champion for women’s rights throughout her career? Explain w/ specifics. Ginsburg has been a champion for women’s rights throughout her career by powering through the oppression that she faced when others would not. She stood up for women’s rights in a male dominated field where she knew she could make an impact where women before her hadn’t, and affect the world in a different way than other women’s right advocates like Betty Friedan couldn’t. Also, not to mention, she didn’t only fight for women’s rights, she even advocated same sex marriage in the Supreme Court vote on June 26, 2013. To conclude, a champion is described as someone who has surpassed their opposition in a competition. Ginsburg most definitely fits this description as she not only surpassed oppression all throughout her time at government and law school, but she also rose up to power and fought against others, winning more rights for people of all gender and sexuality.

  13. Katie Lucken

    1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life shows both how she is an American success story, but she also has an atypical story. The way she is an example of an American success story is that her parents came to Brooklyn, New York, from Russia as Jewish immigrants. Even though they sometimes faced issues, RBG had very caring parents. Her mother always encouraged her to be independent and sophisticated, but unfortunately died when Ruth was 17. Ginsburg enrolled in Cornell University after she graduated from high school. She met her husband, Marty, while at Cornell. After graduating from Cornell, she married Marty and had their first child, before enrolling in Harvard Law School in 1956. She then moved to Columbia Law School after her husband took a job in New York. She became a lawyer and argued many cases in the Supreme Court. Eventually, in 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The way she has an atypical story is simply because of her gender. She managed to rise to the top of her profession during a time that it was not uncommon to be one of the nine women in a class of over 500 law students in universities like Harvard. Much of her work had to do with gender discrimination and and women’s rights, which was another anomaly of the time.

    2. In Ginsburg’s education, she was often one of very few women in a class of hundreds of men. Because of this, these women were often ignored and looked down upon, but Ruth still rose to the top of her classes. In Ginsburg’s early career, it was difficult to find a job because she was a woman. She was rejected by a Supreme Court justice in 1960 for a clerkship position because she was a female, despite recommendation from a professor at Harvard Law School. When she was appointed as a professor at Rutgers School of Law in 1963, she was told she would be paid less than her male counterparts because she had a husband with a good job. I think things have changed considerably since the 1960s for women in the legal profession because of people like RBG. Women used to be far behind men in the percentage of women who graduate from four years of college or more, but as recently as 2014, women have overtaken men. In 2016, women made up just over 50% of law school attendees. This is all progress, but more needs to be made. Of our nine Supreme Court Justices, only three are women. Out of 118 Justices, only 4 have been women, and none have been Chief Justices.

    3. Ginsburg argued many cases advocating for women’s rights throughout her career, and co-founded the first law journal to focus solely on women’s rights, Women’s Rights Law Reporter. She also taught at Colombia from 1972 to 1980, and co-authored the first law school casebook on sex discrimination. She argued and won Frontiero v. Richardson in 1973, which made it easier for female service members to claim an increased housing allowance for husbands. She also argued and won Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld in 1975 which ruled that gender based distinction of the Social Security Act of 1935 violated equal protection of the Fifth Amendment. She believed that no one had the right to make a choice about abortion other than the woman herself, and worked to close the wage gap because of her position of power.

  14. James Laport

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg demonstrates both a typical and atypical American success story. On one side, it is typical through the fact that she started with nothing and worked her way to the top. Having her Jewish parents emigrating from Russia to Brooklyn, neither of them going to college, RBG was determined to achieve greatness by being the first in her family to attend university. Her parents were always very supportive of her education, teaching her to love learning from every opportunity available. She attended Cornell University in 1954 and was considered by her peers as on of the brightest in her class. She then went on to become a lawyer, taking on cases dealing with sexual discrimination. This is where other aspects came in, setting her apart from the typical American success story. Being a woman in her line of work, Ruth Bader Ginsburg faced hardships at every corner. Out of college, she found it very difficult to find a job that would hire a woman. Even when she did find a job, her colleagues often thought of her as less intelligent due to her sex, this was the point where she knew she would have to fight tooth and nail to reach the top.

    Because of the fact that she was a woman, “Notorious RBG” faced discrimination in both the workplace and at school. She struggled to find a law firm that would hire her, even though she graduated with top honors was the only woman who graduated with top honors. She saw this as an opportunity to to move to teaching where her work would be appreciated. I believe things have changed since the 1960’s for women. In the movie a girl discussed how she was part of the first class at Cornell University to have an equal number of men and women, proving women have more opportunities now than ever, but we are still not up how we should be in our nation with a remaining wage gap and debates over abortion and birth control.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg has acted as a champion for women’s rights in her career both as a lawyer and as a supreme court justice. During her time as a lawyer, RBG took on cases such as Frontiero v. Richardson where she showed the negative effects of sexual discrimination on both men and women. As a supreme court justice, Ruth fought for women’s rights in cases such as United States v. Virginia where she said the Virginia Military Institute could not deny entry to a woman.

  15. Nolan Kamoo

    RBG Extra Credit Questions

    1. Ginsburg had a few aspects to her life that was pretty typical of an American success story. Two of the biggest parts to that was growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn and having her mother die at a relatively young age. In the typical American success story, the person who succeeds has to overcome life-changing events to achieve their dreams. Usually, a close family member’s death is involved and a multitude of events occur that get in the way of the person from achieving their dreams and aspirations. However, their tenacity and perseverance always prevails and they win their battles. In Ruth’s case, she had the close family member being her mother. Her mother died because of cancer the day before she graduated high school. In addition, the fact that Ruth grew up in a low-income neighborhood further attempted to limit her abilities in life, yet she overcame them. Anther big limitation was the fact that she was a woman trying to become a lawyer in a field dominated by men. All signs pointed to her being stopped by the many things that stood in her way, yet she overcame every single on and became a Supreme Court Justice. That is exactly what makes this a typical American success story. On the other hand, there were many factors that made Ruth’s story a unique one. First off, it is an extremely rare feat to accomplish what she did and still be doing it at eighty five years old. In addition, Ruth had to battle something that was decided way before she had a say and something that she had absolutely zero control over to change: her gender. Ruth had to constantly battle just being a woman and having to go the extra mile than her male classmates just to prove she was capable. In many success stories, such a inhabitant isn’t within the catalyst, it is something that the person has some kind of control to change.

    2. Ginsburg obviously faced discrimination being a woman early in her career and for a lot of it, even after she had proved herself academically. Nobody thought that a small woman of Ginsburg statue would be able to accomplish anything that she had her eyes set on. Surrounded by a field of men who were bigger and considered themselves better just because they were male. However, Ginsburg overcame this and established herself as one of the top in her class. Yes, I do think things have changed significantly for women in the legal profession since the 1960’s. Although there will never be a perfect equilibrium between the genders, there has been significant improvement. Back then, there was a lot less women joining the legal track than there are nowadays. In addition, back then men still dominated the legal trade, but now the percentage of women is up to 30%, which is a lot higher than back in the 1960’s. Women are more widely accepted within the legal profession now, while back in the 1960’s it was somewhat uncommon for a woman to want to enter that kind of market. The Cult of Domesticity was still in full affect and women were considered the primary housekeepers and child supporters. Men were expected to go out during the day and work to bring home money and support the family. We see much more commonly nowadays women and men alike going out and making money for the families, as well as both genders staying home to care for children and the house.

    3. Ginsburg has been a huge pioneer for women’s rights throughout her career. Specifically in United States vs. Virginia, Ginsburg read the majority opinion stating that qualified women could not be denied admission into Virginia Military Institute. She also argued six landmark cases for women’s rights before the Supreme Court before she had been elected to it; Duren vs. Missouri, Califano vs. Goldfarb, Edwards vs. Healy, Weinberger vs. Wiesenfeld, Kahn vs. Shevin, and Frontiero vs. Richardson. She did not win all of those cases, but regardless, each one was a fighting point for women that Ginsburg did not pass up. Ginsburg knew she wouldn’t be able to achieve what she wanted if she went head-on with all the women’s rights she wanted, so with each case she attacked a specific piece of legislation she wanted. Little by little, she whittled away and got what she wanted. Ginsburg’s tactics were very smart as she accomplished many of the legislation pieces she set out to get. In addition, Ginsburg was not afraid to write dissenting opinions when the Supreme Court did not decide in the favor she thought was right. She knew that regardless of the majority decision, she needed to voice her opinion for the sake of all women and the rights they deserve.

  16. Brody H

    1.) How is Ginsburg’s story a typical American success story? How is atypical? Explain.

    When I think of American history I think it is built on immigrants who came to America and wished for a better life for their family by working hard. Ruth grew up with two parents who did not go to college, but worked hard and wanted a better life for their daughter. Her mom taught her to act like a lady and be independent at the same time. They supported her in getting a good education and somewhat supported her going into law school. Ruth married young and had a family. She worked very hard and became very successful. This was a typical American Success Story.

    Her life was atypical compared to today’s standards. She was one of a 9 of women who went on to Harvard Law School and was in the top 25 in her class. She graduated from Columbia and after all of those accomplishments she was not able to get a job as a lawyer in the entire city of New York because she was a woman. She also fought very hard for gender equality and was very successful in front of the all male Supreme Court. She was the second woman ever chosen for Supreme Court Justice. The only woman on the court today. She is 84 years old, is still working and making an impact. Her story is atypical because she has had to carve her own path her entire life. It is also interesting to see how social media has played a big role in her becoming the “Notorious RBG”.

    2.) What kinds of discrimination did Ginsburg face in her earlier career? Do you think things have changed much since the 1960s for women in the legal profession?

    Ruth faced discrimination herself and was touched by it in many of her cases she presented to the Supreme Court. Women were not called on in law classes. Women went to school to “find a husband”. Women law students were asked how they felt about taking the spot of a male at the school by the president of the school. Women were not hired into law firms, even when they were in the top of their class. Women were not provided the same benefits as men (like the military housing case). Women were not allowed to participate in a an all male military school. Men were not able to get Social Security benefits if their spouse died and they stayed home with their children. These were only a few of the many examples.

    I think they have changed. Her granddaughter who just graduated from Harvard Law School said this was the first time in history that the graduating class was 50/50 men and women, first time in 250 years. Law firms hire lots of women. Those are examples of where it is better. Where it is probably still bad is in different wages. Most likely men are paid more than women performing the same job. It did not say that specifically in the movie but Ruth did work on a case that showed it was happening in other jobs.

    3.) How has Ginsburg acted as a champion for women’s rights throughout her career? Explain w/ specifics.

    I was not aware of the role that Ruth played as a champion for women’s rights until I saw the movie. She argued 6 cases before the Supreme Court in the 70’s and won 5 of them. Each case she was making a different argument about the impact of these decisions on women’s rights. She educated not only the public, but the Supreme Court and tried to explain things in ways they would understand. She is a brilliant writer and her briefs are taught in law school and she is admired by many. She described that women were being treated as inferior. She said men putting women on a pedestal was actually a way to put them in their place (in a cage). Both as an attorney and on the Supreme Court she has supported women’s rights. Examples include some of the cases I listed in question 2, as well as, decisions impacting women’s rights to make choices about their own body, I remember she was pro-abortion.

  17. Ella Landers

    1) Ginsburg’s story is a typical American success story because it has all the elements to success that many other Americans go through: overcoming a tough childhood (when her mother died), working hard to get into the perfect college, and overcoming odds to get a good job. What makes it a atypical story is how different it was for Ginsburg because of her being a women. She faced harder opposition for being a women than most Americans ever did, and yet she overcame it and became one of the most successful women in that generation.

    2) Ginsburg faced overwhelming opposition and discrimination as a woman during her career. She faced much of it at college, despite having proven to be exceptionally smart, making the top Law Review at Harvard. Still, she was subjected to disrespect from numerous employees, teachers, and students, whether it was refusal to let her into a certain section in a library, not calling on her class out of fear she, as a woman, would “wither away,” or asking why she was there in the first place. She also found it very difficult to find a job, as many law offices refused to hire women.I think things have changed a considerably large amount since RBG was a law student and a lawyer. As stated in the film, in 2017, 50% of Harvard law students were female, the first year to have at least half of female students there. However, you don’t have to look at statistics to know there has been substantial and obvious changes-women have grown into strong, capable humans who are now able to stand up for themselves in terms of their careers and social aspects, such as how they dress/talk. I’m not claiming women were weak and little in the 50s/60s when Ruth was a young woman, but they were often forced to not be the people they aimed to be, due to the discrimination mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

    3) Ginsburg has acted for a champion for women’s rights because of her impact on different gender-based laws in the late 19th century. She argued many cases as a lawyer and really made a difference for women around the world. As a supreme court judge, she continued to made a lasting change-she made decisions every day that didn’t always match up with the status quo, such as her famous line, “I dissent.” From her start as a young lawyer, fresh out of law school, to a widowed and older supreme court judge, she changed the landscape of an America that discriminated against women and acted as a champion for women’s rights.

  18. Kyla Hurns

    RBG Extra Credit
    How is Ginsburg’s story a typical American success story? How is atypical? Explain.
    During this time period an American success story can be defined as a typical rags to riches story. Growing up in a hard life where you weren’t expected to be anything big but then defying the stereotypes and boundaries that restricted them and rising to the top anyway. That is exactly what happened to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ruth grew up in Brooklyn, New York to two immigrant parents and was a first generation American. Her parents were married at a very young age in comparison to the average age for marriage now and her mother had her when she was young. Ruth’s mother supported her through everything that she did and was always by her side. Unfortunately, Ruth’s mom died of cancer the day before her graduation. As a child Ruth’s parents made sure that both her and her brother focused on their education and being successful in life.One thing that is very unique about Ruth’s american success story is the fact that her parents did support her through college and her dream of being a lawyer. During this time period many women were steered towards working in the home and taking care of the children, but Ruth’s parents despite little doubt did encourage Ruth to enter the law field even though that was very weird during the time period.
    What kinds of discrimination did Ginsburg face in her earlier career? Do you think things have changed much since the 1960s for women in the legal profession?
    Ginsburg faced a lot of discrimination from the beginning. Most of this was due to the fact that she was challenging the norm of what most women were supposed to be doing and she wasn’t fitting into the cookie cutter box of what women were supposed to be during the time. The discrimination continued as she decided to pursue a career in law at Harvard Law School. While she was there many of the men even the higher authorities scolded her for taking a man’s spot at the school. The Dean of Harvard Law often invited the nine women that were in the law program to have dinner. Despite him being of high authority he would always ask them What does it feel like to take a job that belongs to a man? But Ruth didn’t let that get to her and pushed through and became the top of her class. Oncer Ruth and her husband moved to New York and graduated from Cornell, she began looking for a job. But many agencies refused to hire her because she was a woman and didn’t care that she may have been one of the best. While, I do think that some things have changed for women in the legal profession there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. One of the biggest issues still facing women today is the fact that they are not getting paid the same amount as men despite the fact that they are doing the same exact job. This issue is not only seen in the law profession but also in all profession across all boards.

    How has Ginsburg act as a champion for women’s rights throughout her career? Explain w/ specifics.
    Ruth has been a champion for women’s rights from the beginning of her career, taking on cases that no one else would and challenging the status quo when it came to women. One of the first things she did was her being appointed as a supreme court justice. She was only the second woman to do so and she was setting an example to women across the world that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and being a woman does not mean that you are any less than a man.There were a few big cases in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg has continuosly shown her dedication to gender equality. In United States V. Virginia, the United States filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Military Institute, the country’s last remaining male public undergraduate college or university,arguing that the gender-exclusive admissions policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the Constitution. The United States won and the Virginia Military Institute had to begin to let girls in. Ginsburg made it clear that gender equality is a constitutional right.

  19. Jocelyn Warnica

    Ginsburg’s story is a typical story because she lived out “The American Dream”. She defied all of the gender roles of her time. In times where women were only secretaries, nurses, or teachers, she lived out her dream of becoming a lawyer. This reminded me of the proclaimed “self-made men” during the Gilded Age. Even though most of these men came from families of money, she did not, and still made it onto the Supreme Court. While in law school, she met a man who appreciated her for her brain, not necessarily for her looks, which was unusual for this time.
    During her early career, RBG faced a lot of discrimination. Starting in college, she was one of nine girls in her class at Colombia. After graduating, she was unable to get a job at a law firm because she was a girl. Therefore, she taught gender law at Harvard. Things have definitely changed in the past 50 years. If things had not changed, Ruth would not be on the Supreme Court today. Women are now allowed in all areas of work. We have made tremendous progress in including women in the workforce from 50 years ago. There was a period of time when there was another woman with Ruth on the Supreme Court, which is the most there have ever been.
    Ginsberg has acted as a champion for women’s rights through many of her decisions on court cases. One of the most significant being Virginia vs. United States. The Virginia Military Academy was an all boys military school. A young lady applied there, and was rejected because of her gender. The young lady argued that the men only rule was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. RBG had started this momentum that sparked a new rise of gender equality through her decisions on cases she listened to in the Supreme Court.

  20. Sam Grasl

    Sam Gras
    Mr. Wickersham, B16
    APUSH C, 5th

    The Notorious R.B.G. : Extra Credit

    Answer to Question One:
    Ginsburg’s story is a American classic, a typical story of success; and yet also very atypical. Ginsburg story shows a very typical American success story; she is a first immigrant on her Father’s side, and only second on her mothers. She grew up out of poverty, and was always taught with discipline and to always respect any education you receive. And that she did, she became really super smart, attending Cornell University (for her first year of college). Where it was told it was the ideal college for women, and less discriminated, for it had the best male to female ratio, for every four men, there was one woman (in the film RBG said that if you couldn’t find your husband here, you were hopeless). It was here at Cornell, that Ruth Bader Ginsburg found here husband, Martin D. Ginsburg. Martin and Ruth were complete polar opposites, Martin was a man who always had a smile on his face and cracking jokes, while Ruth was the shy, silent, and unfazed one. But somehow they made it work. “Martin was different, he was the first man i had ever met that actually cared that I had a brain” (RBG). Eventually, Martin and RBG fell in love, got married and had a child. Everything was going good and well, but then Martin got devastatingly ill (Cancer). Ruth didn’t allow this to affect her, she began to study even more, and worked harder. She (Ruth) said that she never wasted any of her time, and that she always finished her work by 4:00 pm every night. For that was when her babysitter left and it was mommy daughter time. But the crazy thing was was that RBG don’t just do her work, she helped her husband Martin with his for he wasn’t able to leave the hospital. She would read and go over his classmates notes for him, and help him with his essays and other work. She would even organizer his friends and when they would visit him in order to help him. So Ruth was doing the work of two people and raised a daughter in the process. Ruth studies to become a lawyer and when she graduated out of New York (top of her class at Cornell, Harvard, and NYU). Martin and all his friends got a job quite easily at a law firm, and said that they had a real special person that they need to hire (Ruth), saying that she was amazing and crazy smart. They didn’t hire Ruth because they said “…We don’t hire woman at this law firm”. RBG ended up at a female runned law firm that specialized with discrimation and sexest acts. It was here that RBG made a name for herself, winning all but one supreme court case (⅚). Ruth did this by becoming more prepared, Martin and the kids said that RBG was constantly working and that Martin had to constantly remind her to eat and sleep, and sometime he would have physically drag/pull her out of her office. Ruth sleeped for maybe 2 hours at most on the weekends, just constantly refining and bettering her work; and just literally sleep through the weekend. When President Clinton needed a nomination for a new supreme court judge; Martin made it his mission to make Ruth his nomination, and he did. Ruth Bader Ginsburg story of success is a typical story of success for she came to america for a better life, broke out of poverty, succeeded against all odds, worked crazy super hard and long, and eventually found amazing success. But Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story of success is also very atypical, for with all the achievement that she’s earned, she never meant to get it. All Ruth wanted to do was to help the people who needed it, she never really wanted to be thi sbig name judge who everyone loves. And if she did… she was always too shy to ever truly chase it. Her story is atypical because she wasn’t the one who sparked her success, she wasn’t the one campaigning for the supreme court nominee back when Clinton first got into office; it was here husband Martin who ran the campaign for her because he knew the she earned the courtesy to at least be nominated into the supreme court. Although all of Ruth’s political success came from her and her alone, it was her husband who gave her the public success she has. In almost every American dream, the people who succeed always had a career based goal, something that can be measured, such as in the Industrial revolution where the dream was to become wealthy. RBG didn’t have that, her dream was to help and nothing else, she never cared about her social status or how people thought of her; she just wanted to win, and that’s exactly what she did.

    Answer to Question Two:
    In here early years, Ruth Bader Ginsburg faced sexual discrimination, at Harvard for an example; the professors there would always randomly call upon a random student at any given moment in time to answer his question. But they never would ask a woman for two reasons, the first one being that they believed that women were too mentally weak to comprehend and understand their questions in front of other people, they thought the pressure would be too much for their “puny” minds. The second reason as to why they never called upon a woman in class was because they were afraid; afraid that they(women) would be able to answer their question easily and correctly. Their pride blinded them, they couldn’t comprehend that woman can and usually are smarter than men. Another example of when RBG faced discrimination is when she was denied a job at a law firm because she was a woman. Martin was speaking to his boss at the law firm he worked, and started to tell him about a student he missed and need to acquire. The employer was extremely interested and basically at the edge of their seat, but then Martin used the word “she”. The Employer fell back at his seat and laughed… “hahaha, don’t you know boy? We don’t hire women her”. RBG has been discriminated since basically a year after she became a Supreme Court Judge. An showing of this were it backfired immensely for those who did discriminated against Ruith was the the Supreme Court case Frontiero v. Richardson, where RBG just destroyed the competition for she worked like a dog and the defendants thought it would be a walk in the park for they were just going up against a few girls. Although since the 1960’s women in the legal profession has increased and gotten better, it is still not equal or correct. For majority of the women in the legal system are not high ranking people in government, and are still precepted as “weak”. After almost 60 years women have barley made a footprint in America’s government, only 23% of america’s government is held by a Women. We’re supposed the be land of the free, and yet several other countries have better equality in their government. (source)

    Answer to Question Three:
    The Notorious R.B.G., and true champion for women’s rights. This can be said for many reasons, such as RBG’s first job out of college was with a women runned law firm that specified with the defending and improvement of women’s rights. Her first case was Frontiero v. Richardson, which was a case heading to the supreme court for Lieutenant Sharron Frontiero (Air Force) stated that a women serving should receive a dependants allowance without the requiring of a husband who is serving. The Air Force did not agree with her, and so Frontiero said this went against the Fifth Amendment(due process). RBG won (obviously) with her opening speech, a speech that was so carefully worded and phrased, that she caught everyone’s attention and thought. With the help of RBG, women serving in the military now get their dependants allowance. Speaking about Military, in here time in the Supreme Court RBG even made it possible for the women in the world to attend the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) which was a former all boys school. She questioned everything the VMI defendants said, and won every argument. For her whole career, RBG fought for women’s rights. In the Supreme Court. In every court decision that she was in, it was about equal rights of man and women. The amazing this about RBG was that she didn’t just fight for the right of women she fought for the right of man. Such as in the Kahn v. Shevin court case, where she fought against florida that widowed men not just women should receive a tax redemption.

    (Sources)(SOURCE 2)

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