History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Signed photograph of Justice Ginsburg from early in her tenure on the Supreme Court

Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933–2020.  Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 1993–2020.  Black-and-white lithograph photograph inscribed and signed, Best wishes to Louise / Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as Associate Justice. 

This is a nice 6” x 9” book weight photograph of Justice Ginsburg of the type that the Supreme Court provides for the justices’ use for autographs.  The image was taken early in Ginsburg’s tenure on the Court.  She has boldly inscribed and signed in black. 

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg, then a federal Court of Appeals judge, to the Supreme Court to succeed retiring Justice Byron R. White.  The second woman and the first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court, she was a staunch advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos called her “a pioneer in the legal fight for women’s rights—a female Thurgood Marshall.”  George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education 169 (1999).

Ginsburg had experienced discrimination first hand.  As a professor of law at Rutgers Law School, her first academic teaching position, she earned less than her male colleagues because, she was told, her husband had a good job.  She later co-founded the Women’s Law Reporter, the first American law journal to focus exclusively on women’s rights; became the first tenured woman on the faculty of Columbia Law School; co-authored the first law school casebook on sex discrimination; and co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. 

Accepting her appointment to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg spoke of her mother.  “I pray that I may be all that she would have been,” Ginsburg said, “had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”

Before she became a judge, Ginsburg had an impressive skein of victories representing litigants in important gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court.  They included:

• Reed v. Reed, 400 U.S. 71 (1971) (statute providing that males must be preferred to females as between persons equally qualified to administer a probate estate unconstitutionally discriminated against women);

• Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973) (statutes unconstitutionally discriminated against female members of the uniformed services by providing that the spouse of a male member was a dependent for purposes of obtaining increased quarters allowances and health benefits but that the spouse of a female members was not a dependents unless the female member in fact provided more than half of his support);

• Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975) (provision of the Social Security Act granting benefits to widow and children of a deceased husband and father, but to only the children and not the widower of a deceased wife and mother, unconstitutionally denied women equal protection of the law by affording female wage earners less protection for their survivors than was afforded male wage earners);

• Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977) (provision of the Social Security Act granting survivor benefits for a surviving husband only if he was receiving at least half of his support from his wife when she died, while granting benefits to a surviving wife without regard to dependency on her deceased husband, unconstitutionally deprived female wage earners of the same protection that male wage earners received for their surviving spouses); and

• Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357 (1979) (statute granting women an automatic exemption from jury service upon request violated a criminal defendant’s right to a jury drawn from a fair cross section of the community because it created an unconstitutional underrepresentation of women on jury panels).

As a Justice, Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), in which the Court ruled unconstitutional Virginia Military Institute’s longstanding male-only admissions policy. 

Before her appointment to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had served as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation’s most powerful appellate court below the Supreme Court, to which President Jimmy Carter appointed her in 1980.  She went on to serve on the Supreme Court until her death in 2020 from pancreatic cancer.  She was the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state in the United States Capitol.

This is a nice photograph.  It has a few scattered handling marks, but they are not obtrusive.  Ginsburg’s name is written in black ink at the top left on the back of the photo, but the writing does not show through.  Overall the photo is in fine to very fine condition. 

Unframed.    Please ask us about custom framing this piece.

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