For more on Justice Ginsburg, watch CNN Films’ “RBG” on Monday, September 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
She’s “notorious.” She’s fit. And on Friday she celebrates a milestone work anniversary. Ruth Bader Ginsburg will mark 25 years as a Supreme Court justice — that’s a quarter-century on the nation’s top court.
Listen to the podcast 'Beyond Notorious'
Before she was the subject of a CNN documentary or the forthcoming drama “On the Basis of Sex,” Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Before teaching Ivy Leaguers at Columbia law — the first woman hired at the law school with tenure — she was a student at Cornell and Harvard. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
In 1993, Justice Byron White retired from the Supreme Court, and Ginsburg had what might now seem like an unlikely supporter in her corner. Ginsburg, now one of the court’s most reliable liberal voices, was recommended as a nominee by Republican stalwart Sen. Orrin Hatch. President Bill Clinton took the advice.
But the hardest part of her job interview, the confirmation hearing, wasn’t without incident (or infamy). She declined to answer some questions that she felt might indicate how she would rule in future cases, now referred to as the Ginsburg Rule. There’s a lot of controversy to this day as to whether Ginsburg and nominees after her have relied too heavily on that precedent.
“The controversies that come before the Supreme Court as the last judicial resort touch and concern the health and well-being of our nation and its people,” Ginsburg said of her aspirations.
She was confirmed 96-3 by the Senate a week prior to her swearing in. Ginsburg took the constitutional oath at the White House, and in remarks that followed, she focused on the idea of diversity in the judicial system.
Like what you're reading?
“A system of justice will be the richer for diversity of background and experience. It will be the poorer, in terms of appreciating what is at stake and the impact of its judgments, if all of its members are cast from the same mold,” Ginsburg said.
Upon her swearing in, Ginsburg became the court’s second woman, its first Jewish member since 1969 and the first nominee by a Democratic president in more than two decades. She is a two-time cancer survivor and, according to the Supreme Court, she has exceeded the average length of service by almost a decade.
President Donald Trump has already had one Supreme Court nominee confirmed and has another nominee facing the Senate this fall.
Ginsburg, 85, recently said that she hopes to stay on the Supreme Court for another five years — if she has anything to do with it, she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.