When you go looking for badass contemporary feminist superheroes, it's hard to find one better than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The U.S. Supreme Court's second (ever!) female justice can add another bullet point to her laundry list of accolades, because there's now a Ruth Bader Ginsburg coloring book available from SheKnows.com! It's absolutely perfect for Women's History Month — and did I mention that it's 100-percent free and printable?
Ginsburg's outspoken feminism and signature style (big earrings, fancy jabots, gloves, and those distinctive glasses) have endeared her to younger generations. Oh, and did I mention that she knows that we call her "Notorious R.B.G."? She loves it.
Ginsburg has been a Supreme Court Justice for as long as many of us can remember. The court's first female appointee, Sandra Day O'Connor, spent more than a decade without another woman on the court before Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg in 1993. The two women became friends, and remained the Court's only female members until Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the court in 2009 and 2010 — several years after O'Connor's 2006 retirement,
As a young woman, Ginsburg pursued her education with passion. She graduated at the top of her class from Cornell in 1954 with a Bachelor's Degree in government. Two years later, after her husband returned from military duty, Ginsburg enrolled with him at Harvard. She was one of nine women in a class of 500 students, and encountered hostility from classmates and professors alike, but Ginsburg did not sway in her dedication to her studies.
Ginsburg was the first woman to join the Harvard Law Review. After she and her husband moved to New York City, she transferred to Columbia, where she was then the first woman to join the Columbia Law Review. In 1959, Ginsburg graduated first in her class.
In 1970, she co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter, "The first legal periodical in the United States to focus exclusively on the field of women's rights law." When Ginsburg took a job at Rutgers in 1972, the Women's Rights Law Reporter moved with her "and became formally affiliated with the law school in 1974." Ginsburg later left Rutgers to teach at Columbia, where she became the first woman to receive tenure.
Ginsburg founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women's Rights Project in 1971. In her work with the ACLU, she argued and won six gender equality cases before the Supreme Court, beginning with Reed v. Reed. Thanks to Ginsburg's work, widowers cannot be denied Social Security benefits when their wives die, and men and women must have equal opportunity to hold power over estates.
Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. She served in that post until she joined the Supreme Court in 1993.
In her time as a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg has continued the fight for women's rights. With reproductive health access chipped away in recent cases, Ginsburg was asked in a 2009 interview what aspect of the law she would focus on if she were not on the court. She replied:
Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.
Ginsburg recently repeated her misgivings about abortion access. Speaking at Duke University in July 2015, the justice said that reproductive choice was exclusive to higher-income women:
There’s a sorry situation in the United States, which is essentially that poor women don’t have choice. Women of means do. They will, always. Let’s assume Roe v. Wade were overruled and we were going back to each state for itself, well, any woman who could travel from her home state to a state that provides access to abortion, and those states never go back to old ways … So if you can afford a plane ticket, a train ticket or even a bus ticket you can control your own destiny but if you’re locked into your native state then maybe you can’t. That we have one law for women of means and another for poor women is not a satisfactory situation.
So here's to RBG, Our Lady of Justice. Go print out your Ruth Bader Ginsburg coloring book pages and bask in the freedom she's given you, folks.