Sex & Relationships

The Progressive Love Story Of The Century: Ruth & Marty

They supported each other's careers for decades.

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You know all about RBG, and everything she did as a Supreme Court Justice, but do you know the epic love story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Marty Ginsburg? Here's how they met, and how they encouraged each other, as best friends and partners, for decades.

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The year is 1950 and 17-year-old Ruth Bader is a student at Cornell University. According to CNN, she (only somewhat jokingly) referred to it as a "school for daughters," aka one where young women go to find a husband.

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Of course, that wasn't the reason why Ruth went to Cornell. But as luck would have it, she did end up meeting the love of her life, Martin "Marty" Ginsburg, there. "He was the only boy I ever knew [...] who cared that I had a brain," Ruth would later say.

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She cared about his brain, too, and fell for him in Vladimir Nabokov's lit class when he correctly answered a question about Charles Dickens. The two started dating, and according to Vogue, would read aloud to each other — which I think we can all agree is absolutely adorable.

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Ruth and Marty got married in 1954 — the same year she graduated from Cornell — and both went on to study at Harvard Law, where Ruth was only one of nine women in her class of 500.

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While studying, they had a daughter, Jane, in 1955. And soon after Marty found out he had testicular cancer.

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Ruth masterfully handled it all. She would go to Marty's classes and take notes, so that he wouldn't fall behind, then she'd sit down to her own schoolwork at two in the morning. Eventually, Marty recovered and graduated in 1958.

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Before Ruth could finish her last year at Harvard, the family packed up and moved to New York, where Marty had accepted a job at a law firm, according to Vogue. She completed her degree at Columbia in 1959, graduating tied for first at the top of her class.

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While it might seem like Ruth followed Marty, he constantly supported her, too. For example, when she was doing advocacy work at the ACLU, he took over at home — something that was practically unheard of in the 50s.


Of course, even though Ruth had a degree from Columbia, she still struggled to find a job at a law firm in NYC. According to Time, some judges wouldn’t even allow her to clerk for them, telling her it was because of her gender.


But Marty encouraged her to continue on — and we all know the success she had from there. According to CNN, she said, "I became a lawyer because Marty supported that choice unreservedly."

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When president Jimmy Carter appointed Ruth to the U.S. Court of appeals in 1980, the family — which now included their son, James — relocated to Washington, DC.

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Ruth would later refer to Marty as her "best friend and biggest booster." And speaking to the support they offered each other, Marty said, "It's not sacrifice, it's family."


The two were married until Marty's death from cancer in 2010, and Ruth remained on the Supreme Court until her death on September 18, making their lives together a truly progressive love story for the ages.