Part 1: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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. 

Guest: Linda Greenhouse, who writes about the Supreme Court for The New York Times. 

For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily 

Background reading: 

  • 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.