Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a Justice of the Supreme Court since 1993, and is only the second woman in United States history to be appointed to the position.
Ginsburg is considered a member of the liberal bloc of the bench, and has served as an increasingly well known voice on behalf of gender equality, women’s rights violations, same-sex marriage and the upholding of Roe v. Wade, to name a few. Since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the bench, opening up a position for President Trump to assumably nominate another Conservative to the bench, Ginsburg’s position as Justice has become of increasing importance for the liberal community, with many wondering about the 85-year-old’s health moving forward.
Despite fears over Ginsburg’s health, she shows no signs of slowing down or retiring. In a round of public appearances earlier this year, though, Ginsburg reassured crowds that she was “feeling fine”.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was married to Martin D. Ginsburg, who passed away in 2010. Here’s what you need to know.
1. They Met on a Blind Date and Were Married for 56 Years
Martin Ginsburg met Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a blind date while both of them were studying at Cornell, according to NPR. Martin Ginsburg was 18 years old, at the time, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a mere 17 years old. Of the date, Ruth Bader Ginsburg later said that her husband was the only man she’d ever dated who was interested in her brain.
As for Martin Ginsburg, he reportedly said later that his wife was a “top brain”, and he was a “top golfer.”
The Ginsburgs were happily married for 56 years until Martin Ginsburg passed away. They also had two children, Jane Carol Ginsburg and James Steven Ginsburg, and now have four grandchildren.
2. In an Op-ed to the New York Times, Ginsburg Described Her Marriage as the Luckiest Thing of Her Life
In an opinion piece on life advice written for The New York Times in 2016, Ginsburg wrote, “I have had more than a little bit of luck in life, but nothing equals in magnitude my marriage to Martin D. Ginsburg. I do not have words adequate to describe my supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse.”
Ginsburg went on to discuss her husband’s cooking acumen, his support as a parent, and his role as “the first reader” for everything she wrote. Ginsburg added, “He was at my side constantly, in and out of the hospital, during two long bouts with cancer. ”
Martin Ginsburg had the same loving words to say about his own wife. Prior to his death, he reportedly wrote to his wife that (setting aside parents and kids), “you are the only person I have loved in my life. … I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell some 56 years ago.”
3. They Both Deferred From Harvard Law School for Two Years When Ginsburg Was Drafted
Both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg attended Harvard Law School, but not before a two year deferral due to Martin Ginsburg being drafted to the army. They lived in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for two years, a time that Martin Ginsburg later described as a “stroke of good fortune” because it allowed he and his wife to spend time alone together.
“We had nearly two whole years far from school, far from career pressures and far from relatives, to learn about each other and begin to build a life,” he said.
Martin Ginsburg also reportedly learned about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s awful cooking skills during their time in Oklahoma. According to NPR, he said, “I learned very early in our marriage that Ruth was a fairly terrible cook, and, for lack of interest, unlikely to improve. Out of self-preservation, I decided I had better learn to cook.”
After Martin Ginsburg completed his service, they attended Harvard Law School together, though Ruth Bader Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School to finish her schooling after Martin Ginsburg received a job in New York City.
4. He Was a Successful Tax Lawyer and Professor of Law at Georgetown University
Martin Ginsburg was a successful lawyer in his own right. According to The Washington Post, he received a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell (where he met Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and eventually received a degree from Harvard Law School, specializing in tax law.
After college, Ginsburg practiced law in New York and was a law professor at New York University for several years, before finally deciding to be a full time professor. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg received the opportunity to become an appellate judge in Washington, D.C., he moved to Georgetown University and practiced as a tax layer there, as well.
The Washington Post reports that Martin Ginsburg was also the co-author of “Merges, Acquisitions and Buyouts,” a tax law treatise that was updated on an annual basis.
5. Martin Ginsburg Said the Most Important Thing He did in His Life Was to Enable His Wife
In the weeks leading up to Martin Ginsburg’s death, he reportedly told a friend, “I think that the most important thing I have done is to enable Ruth to do what she has done.”
This can be viewed in multiple ways: first, of his general support as a spouse to Ruth Bader Ginsburg while she was pursuing professional goals, and second, of the literal and concrete help he gave her to rise up the ladder of the legal industry.
According to NPR, it was a tax case that Martin Ginsburg brought to his wife’s attention which first set in motion her passion for gender equality, and when they won this case it was eventually brought to the Supreme Court.
It was these statutes in particular, Ginsburg recalled, “that my wife then litigated against to overturn over the next decade.”
NPR also reports that Ginsburg was constantly promoting his wife’s legal abilities, and that some Clinton administration officials claimed that it was due to Martin Ginsburg’s “relentless and artful behind-the-scenes lobbying that brought Ruth Ginsburg’s name into the mix of potential Supreme Court nominees in 1993.”
As for Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself, she too believed that her husband’s vocal support of her was a huge contributor to the success of her legal career. To the New York Times, she wrote, “I betray no secret in reporting that, without him, I would not have gained a seat on the Supreme Court.”