Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been one of the most important jurists on the Supreme Court over the last 50 years. The second woman ever to serve on the court, Ginsburg has become during her 20-year tenure the strongest judicial advocate for women’s rights in the nation’s history. She embodies exemplary personal strength — twice a cancer survivor, she belies her 80 years and frail appearance with an energetic schedule of appearances and speeches away from the court. At hearings, her soft-spoken, courteously phrased questions cloak a dogged insistence on clear answers.
Ginsburg is also the senior member of the court’s four-justice liberal bloc. As in last year’s Obamacare decision, she often takes the lead in articulating the counterpoint to the views of the right wing of the court, personified by Antonin Scalia. She is also beloved; those who know her speak of her understated grace and gentleness.