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Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b.1933)
Medal by Eugene Daub (2013), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and sworn in as the 107th justice to the United States Supreme Court on August 10, 1993, she became the second woman justice (Sandra Day O'Connor was the first) and the first Jewish woman ever to sit on the Court. The first Jewish Supreme Court Justice had been Louis Brandeis, appointed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.


President Clinton announces his selection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court.

Calling Ginsburg’s appointment “the most significant and thrilling Jewish-American event of the year,” the Jewish-American Hall of Fame issued a special medal in her honor, that also commemorated its 25th anniversary. The 39mm 1 oz. pure silver medals were designed by Hal Reed, winner of the American Numismatic Association’s Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture. After receiving the commemorative, Justice Ginsburg wrote: "I was touched beyond description … and cherish the special medal."


Twenty years later, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was selected as the 2013 Jewish-American Hall of Fame honoree by a distinguished Advisory Board of leading Jewish historians and organizational leaders. The Ginsburg medal crowns a year of impressive achievements for sculptor Eugene Daub, who earlier this year received an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art, University of San Francisco and attended the dedication of his statue of Rosa Parks in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol – the first full-sized statue authorized and funded by Congress since the 1870s.

The over 2” diameter Ruth Bader Ginsburg medals have the distinctive rounded-trapezoidal shape, created by sculptor Victor Ries, that has distinguished the Jewish-American Hall of Fame series since it was launched in 1969. The reverse features Moses, holding the Ten Commandments—represented by the first ten letters of the ancient Hebrew alphabet. The great lawgiver is based on a sculpture by Hermon MacNeil in the eastern pediment of the Supreme Court Building. Inscribed is an extract from Ginsburg’s remarks when she received the Albert D. Chernin Award given annually by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs: “I am a judge, born, raised, and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of the Jewish history and Jewish tradition.


Three great lawmakers in the eastern pediment of the US Supreme Court Building were carved by Herman A. McNeil--Moses is in the center, Confucius on the left, and Solon on the right.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn on March 15, 1933. She was an excellent student in school, and was confirmed with honors from the East Midwood Jewish Center. At James Madison High School, she played the cello in the orchestra, was a member of Arista, was a cheerleader and a baton twirler, and the school newspaper editor.


Ruth Bader in her high school year book.

One of only nine women at Harvard Law School in 1956, Ginsburg and her female classmates were asked by the dean why they were occupying seats that would otherwise be filled by men.
After transferring and graduating (tying for first in class) from Columbia Law School, Ginsburg became the second woman to join the faculty of Rutgers Law School. When she discovered that her salary was lower than that of her male colleagues, she joined an equal pay campaign with other women teaching at the university, which resulted in substantial increases for all the complainants. Prompted by her own experiences, Ginsburg established the ACLU Women's Rights Project in 1972 so that “artificial barriers are removed, and avenues of opportunity [are] held open to women.

The National Women’s Hall of Fame sums up Ginsburg’s service on the Supreme Court as: “Justice Bader Ginsburg has become known for her scholarly, balanced opinions and forthright personal courage. A cancer survivor herself, she has assisted thousands by her example of frank discussion of the state of her health and early diagnosis.”


Supreme Court official photograph, 2012.

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