Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court exactly 25 years ago on Thursday. She became the first Jewish female and second female justice to serve in the Supreme Court.
Ranking top of her class at Cornell University and Harvard Law School, Ginsburg has ruled in a number of significant cases including the closing down of the last all-male university in the country in United States v. Virginia and legalizing same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Here are five things to know about the judge famously referred to as the "Notorious RBG."
In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Lilly Ledbetter accused the tire manufacturing company of gender discrimination after claiming the company refused to pay her equally to her male counterparts because she was a woman. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of Goodyear, a decision that prompted a dissenting opinion from Ginsburg.
Ginsburg urged Congress to amend Title VII in her dissent. Ledbetter said that the unequal pay she was receiving was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the time, the clause stated that the only days that could be investigated were 180 days prior to her filing the complaint, even if the employer found out about the unequal pay afterwards. Goodyear used this clause to rule in their favor and won the case.
In Ginsburg’s dissent, she stated that “discrimination is at work develops over time."
Congress listened and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- which says that “unfair pay complaints can be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck and that 180 days resets after each paycheck is issued” -- became President Barack Obama’s first signed bill when he took office in 2009.
“Knowingly carrying past pay discrimination forward must be treated as lawful conduct,” Ginsburg wrote in her dissent.
Work outside of the court
Before Ledbetter brought her case to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had been a public advocate of women’s rights beginning in 1972 when she founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project. Through advocacy and outreach, the project has aided women of color, low-income women, and immigrant women who are “subject to gender bias” and face “pervasive barriers to equality."
Referred to as the "Notorious RBG," Ginsburg is also known for her touch of femininity in the court by wearing a variety of jabots, a detailed accessory worn around the neck. On days when the court makes a decision, Ginsburg will wear her jabot of dissent. The collar speaks for itself when she disagrees with the majority opinion. Ginsburg famously wore the jabot of dissent the day after the election of President Donald Trump, no cases were scheduled for that day.
Showing support in many ways
Ginsburg has become a role model to the movement of women’s rights and fans have shown support through the art they place on their skin.
One Instagram user even showed off her tattoo of Ginsburg’s jabot.
Another fan had a portrait of Ginsburg tattooed on her arm!
Named after a new species
Apart from the tattoos, clothing, and fan art, nothing beats the honor of being named after a new species of praying mantis!
In a statement from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in June 2016, scientists are using a new method to identify praying mantis -- this time females.
“Male genitalia characters have historically been a standard in classifying insect species,” the statement said. “The research is the first formal study to use female genital structures to delimit a new species of praying mantis.”
In honor of Ginsburg for “her relentless fight for gender equality,” scientists are calling the new species of mantis Ilomantis ginsburgae. Scientists also say the neck plate of the insect represents the jabots that Ginsburg wears in court.
At 84-years-old, Ginsburg is in no rush to retire from her position in the U.S. Supreme Court and has proven that she will continue to fight to help close the gap in gender inequality in the United States.