10 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In Jewish tradition, one that dies during the High Holidays is said to be a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness and greatness. The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Find out what made R.B.G so “Notorious.”

RBG. PHOTO scotusblog.com  

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 from complications due to metastatic pancreatic cancer. A pioneering advocate for women and LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights, Justice Ginsburg’s legacy influenced much of America’s liberal legislation. From her involvement in landmark cases to becoming a generational, pop-culture icon, the “Notorious R.B.G.” will be a dearly missed figure within our Judicial system. With a mixture of a resilient Brooklyn attitude and no tolerates for gender discrimination, she became a force to be reckoned with.

1. Her First Name Actually Isn’t Ruth.

baby ruth bader ginsburg

Born initially as Joan Ruth Bader, she found herself in a class full of Joans one year at school. Her teacher and classmates began calling her Ruth as a means of differentiation. Her mother liked the nickname so much that she even suggested that she continues going by Ruth!

2. She Has Battled Cancer Since the 90s.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
UNSPLASH National Cancer Institute

R.B.G.’s recent 2019 stint in the hospital was not her first time enduring illnesses. Justice Ginsburg has been battling cancer since 1999 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. From then, she continued to face cancer in 2009, 2018, and 2019. In May of 2020, it was announced that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.

3. RGB, Top of Her Class, But No Job.

Young Ruth Bader Ginsburg

After graduating at the top of her class from Cornell University, Justice Ginsburg had a rough time finding work after school. Though her grades made her a desirable candidate for hire, the gender discrimination of the 50s did not see women hired in high-paying jobs often.

4. Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, was R.B.G.’s Professor At Cornell.

Vladimir Nabokov
FACEBOOK Vladimir Nabokov

While studying at Cornell, R.B.G. had Vladamir Nabokov, the author of the popular novella Lolita, as a professor of European Literature. She is credited with saying that not only was Nabokov her favorite professor, she also felt influences of Nabokov in her own writing.

5. She Kept Her Second Pregnancy A Secret.

Equal rights.

While working as a professor at Rutgers University School of Law in 1963, R.B.G. had to hide her second pregnancy under baggy clothes until her contract was renewed. Back then, pregnancy was considered a “temporary disability,” allowing employers to fire women for being pregnant. This led to her fighting for the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

6. She’s A Lover of the Finer Arts.

R.B.G. is known to be a massive fan of Opera. Since seeing her first performance in 1944, Ginsburg has been a beloved local within the Opera community. In 2017, the Glimmerglass Festival put on a production of “Ginsburg/Scalia,” chronicling their friendship before his untimely death later that year. She has also made some guest appearances in shows put on by the Washington National Opera.

7. A Fitness Icon.

Ginsburg fitness
Film “RBG”, Magnolia Pictures.

Justice Ginsburg’s fit and healthy lifestyle gained mass media attention when everyone found out that she still maintained a strict workout regime well into her 80s! Part of her workout routine includes 10 push-ups, rest, another 10 push-ups finished with a 1-minute plank. Who knew Lady Justice was buff! Her workout routine can be viewed on the website RBGWorkout.com.

8. She’s A Collector of Stylish Jabots.


A jabot is a decorative fabric (usually lace) collar normally worn by female Justices. Though they are not mandatory, Ginsburg is one of two female Justices that choose to wear one. Each jabot within her extensive collection has a designated purpose. Her famous “dissenting collar,” is worn whenever she is about to give her dissenting opinion, paralleled by her “majority opinion collar.”

9. One Too Many.

Red wine
UNSPLASH Lefteris kallergis

The famous photo of R.B.G. taking a snooze during Obama’s State of the Union address in 2015 created social media memes galore. But what many don’t know while watching the Justice dozing off was that she admitted later to having and “yummy lunch” and “one or two glasses of wine” right before Obama’s address. Apparently, this has become an inside joke between SCOTUS Justices as Justice Ginsburg had a habit of hitting the bottle and snoozing right before State of the Unions.


Notorious RBG

Her infamous nickname, “Notorious R.B.G.,” was initially coined by Tumblr user Shana Knizhnick in 2013, after Ginsburg delivered her “notorious” dissenting opinion of the landmark Shelby County v. Holder case.

Daniella Fishman


Daniella is an NYC born adventurer with a love of traveling, writing, eating, and rollerskating. Dani is passionate about supporting local communities and exploring everything from bustling city life to quiet woodland retreats. There is an adventure around every corner if you open your eyes and mind to it.

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