7 Epic Reasons Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is More Awesome Than You Knew

As the second female Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history, and an incredible women's rights champion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a remarkable icon for women and men everywhere— both in the political sphere and in, well, real life. The Notorious R.B.G., as she's come to be known, has proven that she should never be underestimated as a woman, student, or advocate.

And because she knows what Tumblr is, you can assume that she is 82 years young. In an interview with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg commented on her nickname.

I think a law clerk told me about this Tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious R.B.G. was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that's on the tumblr. ... [I]n fact I think I gave you a Notorious R.B.G. [T-shirts]. I have quite a large supply.

In a nutshell, Ginsburg is notorious for using her confidence and intelligence to better the world and inspire anyone who has been slighted because of their appearance, gender, or race. After graduating first in her class at Cornell University, Ginsburg attended Harvard Law School as one of nine women in a class of 500 students (she later graduated Columbia Law School). And by the way, on top of attending law school, she simultaneously raised a daughter while her husband was serving in the military. As a woman and therefore a minority at Harvard during the 1950s, Ginsburg refused to be deterred by hostility and discrimination. Instead, she showed the haters what she's made of by graduating Columbia Law first in her class (again) and has been showing the world how equality is achieved ever since.

Now, it's time to learn how truly awesome R.B.G. really is.

1) She Practiced Law Without Pay


Ginsburg practiced law for all of the right reasons, and was able to do so without monetary motivation. Needless to say, she has a passion for women's rights. Ginsburg volunteered as an advocacy lawyer at New Jersey's American Civil Liberties Union during the 1960s. Shortly after the Civil Rights Act's Title VII was passed, sex discrimination cases became more serious in the public eye. Ginsburg worked on the cases and was receptive of college students' interest in the subject. She went on to put a course that focused solely on women and the law into Rutgers University's curriculum by teaching it herself.

2) She Achieved Equal Pay For Women at Rutgers


Ginsburg found out that her male counterparts at Rutgers School of Law were given higher salaries, and she certainly was not about to let that fly. Rallying with other female professors at the University in an equal pay campaign, she helped achieve equal pay for women and men at Rutgers. That would be a big deal even now, let alone over four decades ago.

3) She Co-Founded Multiple Women's Rights Projects

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In 1970, Ginsburg put her name in the books by co-founding the first ever women's rights law journal, the Women's Rights Law Reporter. The quarterly journal is still being published by female students at Rutgers School of Law today. Ginsberg also continued her involvement in ACLU by creating the Women's Rights Project in 1972. As its chief litigator, she made history as Sally Reed's volunteer attorney in the landmark case Reed v. Reed — a case where Supreme Court Justices ruled unanimously in favor of applying the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law to women.

4) She Refuses To Attend Red Mass

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Ginsburg doesn't allow anything, including religion and tradition, to compromise her beliefs. She stopped attending the yearly Red Mass held for Justices and other prominent members of government because the Catholic procession outwardly expressed anti-abortion sentiment. As she's said before in an interview on the show Now with Bill Moyers, "dissents speak to a future age." Nothing obligates us to passively accept tenets we believe are fundamentally wrong.

5) Her Definition Of Feminism

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Feminism... I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, "Free to be You and Me." Free to be, if you were a girl —d octor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you're a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that's OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers, man-made barriers, certainly not heaven sent.

Including girls as well as boys, Ginsburg gave the perfect answer in an interview with Makers.

6) She Rocks The Lace

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Ginsburg gets fancy with her lace jabots, using every opportunity to spice up her Supreme Court Justice uniform. Naturally, she collects them and says her favorite is made of white beads from South Africa. And she can't get enough of the lace... even outside of the courtroom. Observe the dainty lace gloves.

7) She's Worn A Wig In An Opera

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A huge fan of operas, Ginsburg has appeared in two of them. Doesn't everyone want to star as themselves in a play about themselves? R.B.G. did. In the second opera, she wore a full costume and powdered wig.