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Top 10 Amazing Facts About Ruth Bader Ginsburg

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Let’s learn a little more about the Notorious RBG. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Facts about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.For this list, we’re looking at fascinating facts about this prominent political figure and progressive icon who was one of the first women to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Top 10 Amazing Facts about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Let’s learn a little more about the Notorious RBG. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Facts about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
For this list, we’re looking at fascinating facts about this prominent political figure and progressive icon who was one of the first women to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

#10: She's Multi-Talented (But She's Not Good at EVERYTHING)

We’re familiar with Ruth Bader Ginsburg because of her incredible career accomplishments, but it turns out politics isn’t the only area where she thrives. In her younger years, she played the cello and was even a baton twirler! Before you start to feel too bad about yourself though, know that RBG is also supremely relatable and has areas in which she struggles. Like driving, for example! She allegedly failed her driver’s ed exam the first five times she took it. She’s also a notoriously terrible cook, with her late husband saying, “Ruth is no longer permitted in the kitchen, by the demand of our children, who have taste.”

#9: She Works on Her Fitness

Even in her 80s, RBG takes her fitness regimen seriously, doing 20 push ups a day. She said, "I do 10, and I breathe, and then I do 10 more. But that's not the hardest part — after that, I do a 30-second plank”. In 2018, she even did her famous workout routine with Stephen Colbert for his show. Not only that, but a book has been published called “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too!” which makes her fitness tricks available to the masses. Despite breaking three ribs in a fall in late 2018, she’s a strong cookie. Alright alright if she can do it, we definitely can too!

#8: She Loves Opera

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is passionate about many things, and one of her areas of expertise outside of the political realm is opera. She has said that one of her greatest dreams would be to sing like a great diva, though she admits that she sings “only in the shower and in [her] dreams” because of her less-than-stellar voice. A law student actually created an entire opera about the relationship between RBG and Antonin Scalia, which RBG even mentioned in the statement she made following his death.

#7: She Was Discriminated Against While Pregnant
When RBG and her husband were newly married, they moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for his work in the army. Never one to rest on her laurels, Ginsburg was hired as a claims adjustor after passing the civil service exam. She soon let her bosses know that she was pregnant; and then mysteriously, her pay was cut and her civil service ranking was diminished. She learned from this instance in her own past, and when she was working as a professor at Rutgers University, she kept her second pregnancy a secret for as long was possible to avoid further discrimination. RBG fights for gender equality armed with firsthand experience.

#6: She Experienced Sexism at Harvard

In 1956 when Ruth Bader Ginsburg started at Harvard Law School, she was one of only nine women in a class of approximately 500 students. That year, Erwin Griswold was the dean of Harvard Law, and one night he invited all the female students to have dinner with him. Ginsburg initially thought it was a kind gesture, but near the end of the evening he asked each of the women to justify to him why the deserved the spot over a man. In later years, Griswold said he had meant the question in jest. Ginsburg went on to become the first woman to be on the Harvard Law Review.

#5: She Had a Good Relationship With Scalia

We briefly mentioned the “Scalia/Ginsburg” opera earlier, but let’s dive deeper into the unconventional friendship between the liberal Bader Ginsburg and her very conservative fellow Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia. There has perhaps never been a more unconventional pairing on the bench, and yet these two managed to find common ground, and fostered a beautiful friendship despite their differing political views. After his death in 2016, Ginsburg actually referred to them as “best buddies” and delivered a moving eulogy for him that won’t soon be forgotten.

#4: Her Collars Have Meaning

The robes worn by Supreme Court Justices are designed primarily with men in mind, leaving an opening at the neckline where a collared shirt and tie would appear. Sandra Day O'Connor and RBG, the first two women to serve on the court, decided together to add accessories that were more appropriate for women, to help their outfits stand out. The collars that Ginsburg has made iconic are technically called “jabots” and she even has a particular one that she uses when she knows she’s going to have a dissenting opinion.

#3: She Had a Difficult Time at University

While we already discussed the sexism that Ginsburg experienced while attending Harvard University, her troubles didn’t stop there. While she was a student, her husband was too, and he was diagnosed with cancer during their time there. This made the journey through school understandably much harder on her, as she not only had to handle her own course load but also help her husband with his, as well as care for their daughter after class. When RBG was herself diagnosed with cancer decades later, she continued to work. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor reportedly gave her advice to do chemo on Fridays so she could be back at work the following week.

#2: Her Marriage Focused on Equality

Considering they were married in the 1950s, the marriage between Marty Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg was surprisingly modern and progressive. As each went through more challenging periods of their careers, the other supported them, even if it defied gender roles of the times. Marty was an excellent cook, and after his death in 2010, a book of his recipes was even published by the Supreme Court Historical Society. It’s been reported that Marty once poignantly stated to a friend, “I think the most important thing I have done is enable Ruth to do what she has done.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here is an honorable mention:

She's Not a Morning Person

#1: She Has A Favorite Amendment
Not everyone can say they have a favorite amendment to the United States Constitution, but you can bet RBG does. She calls the 14th Amendment the one she likes best, which is also generally recognized as one of the most important. It states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” will be granted citizenship. After the Civil War, on July 9, 1868, it was officially adopted as part of the Reconstruction Amendments. It’s an issue that even 150 years later is still very much in the headlines and is very hot political topic.


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