When Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from law school, she received no job offers from New York law firms, despite being an outstanding student. She spent two years clerking for a federal district judge, who agreed to hire her only after persuasion, and was rejected for a role working with Justice Felix Frankfurter because she was a woman.
With her career apparently stuttering in the male-dominated legal world, she returned to Columbia University to work on a law project that required her to spend time in Sweden. There, she encountered a more egalitarian society. She also came across a magazine article in which a Swedish feminist said that men and women had one main role: being people. That sentiment would become her organizing principle.
In the first of two episodes on the life of Justice Ginsburg, we chart her journey from her formative years to her late-life stardom on the Supreme Court.
In the second episode, we consider the ramifications of her death and the struggle over how, and when, to replace her on the bench.
The stakes are high: If President Trump is able to name another member of the Supreme Court, he would be the first president since Ronald Reagan to appoint three justices, tipping the institution in a much more conservative direction.
On today’s episodes:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in her home in Washington on Friday. She was 87. The second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg’s pointed and powerful dissenting opinions made her a cultural icon.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and landmark opinions moved us closer to a more perfect union,” former President Bill Clinton, who nominated her for the court, wrote on Twitter. Other tributes have poured in from leaders on all sides of the political spectrum.
President Trump’s determination to confirm a replacement before the election set lawmakers in Congress on a collision course.
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Linda Greenhouse and Julie Davis contributed reporting.
“The Daily” is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Julia Longoria, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi and Rachelle Bonja. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.