Day in the Life:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Order, order in the court.” This nation will never hear Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) say these very words again. Nonetheless, her spirit will motivate us all to fight for justice and equality. In her career and lifetime, she broke down several barriers and opened doors for many minorities like herself. Even till the day she died, she was working to fulfill her duties as a Supreme Court Justice. It is difficult to say that she is not here with us today, but I hope those who admire her will continue on with her mission for a better world for everyone.
Justice Ginsburg was superhuman. She beat cancer several times, found a work-life balance, and attended to her physical and mental health needs. A look into her daily routine may help you find motivation to do the work to support humanity as she did.
Good Night…or Good Morning?
Because of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, Justice Ginsburg would work until 4 AM and fall asleep a little bit after. Despite her unusual sleep schedule, she would always wake up on time and get to the work by 9 AM. She always ate bananas for the potassium and to keep herself hydrated and healthy.
Justice Ginsburg went to law school while taking care of her family. Her husband was also a lawyer; even with their busy schedules, they made time for the children and family dinners. While she was in law school, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, but they pulled through that diagnosis and continued to support each other through the various challenges in life.
Despite graduating at the top of her class in law school, she faced difficulties breaking into law firms because at the time women were not given many opportunities and were often underestimated. Nonetheless, throughout her career, she held many diverse roles. Early on, she served as a law clerk and a research associate and associate director of the Columbia Law School Project. She went on to teach as a law professor at Columbia and Rutgers. As an active proponent of civil rights and women’s rights, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU and was a part of ACLU’s general counsel. Her broad skill set and incredible commitment to fighting for justice eventually led President Clinton to appoint her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
As a Supreme Court judge, Justice Ginsburg challenged laws and pushed for created more opportunities and equalities for women. Work did not just stop in the court house. Justice Ginsburg did not see her work as work. She loved what she did and spent a majority of the day researching and working through her cases. She explained it best on how she maintained such a balanced attitude about her judicial responsibilities: “Work for what you believe in, but pick your battles, and don’t burn your bridges. Don’t be afraid to take charge, think about what you want, then do the work, but then enjoy what makes you happy, bring along your crew, have a sense of humor.”
Even though she worked long hours, she still enjoyed her food and ate balanced meals. Supreme Court Justices are given an hour to eat lunch, and Justice Ginsburg needed that time. She ate plenty, but took her time when she did. She enjoyed Italian food, sea food, different Asian cuisines, and the quintessential New York bagel with smoked salmon. Good food filled RBG’s life as her husband was an incredible home chef who cooked up some incredible family dinners. Interestingly enough, he would even make birthday cakes for the other justices.
Fit Like a Justice
No matter how busy her day was, she always made sure to work out for at least an hour with her trainer. Her trainer, Bryant Johnson, had been working with her since 1999. They followed an intense routine with cardio, calisthenics, and weight lifting. Try challenging yourself and see if you can handle her workout routine. It’s not as easy as you might assume. She kept up with her workout routine even during the pandemic. To adhere to social distancing rules, her trainer provided her with workout videos to help Justice Ginsburg keep up with her health. This commitment to fitness helped her strongly face her health challenges.
Joys of Life
In the evenings, RBG enjoyed watching some good ol’ opera and theater productions. She actively supported the arts. In fact, one of her favorites was Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Surprisingly, she even played the role of Duchess of Krakenthorp in Donizetti’s “The Daughter of the Regiment” at the Washington National Opera. She was friends with many talented directors and composers. They admired her as much as she admired them. To put it simply, the opera took her to a happy place where she forgot all her responsibilities.
Final Lessons From Justice Ginsburg
Although she is not with us anymore, she left some incredible lessons for us to learn from. In any relationship, especially marriage, it is important to sometimes have a deaf ear. What she meant was to let certain things go to avoid reacting with anger. She was a major proponent of work-life balance; she believes it made her more efficient and productive. This balance allowed her to spend time with her loved ones while also serving as a maintainer of justice. Above everything, Justice Ginsburg wanted people to respect each other and do the best for each other. The way she put things helped people see that they too would be able to achieve this balance in their lives. We will miss you RBG and will remember all that you have done for achieving a better world.
Associated Press. (2016). Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg trades her robes for an opera costume. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-rbg-play-20161113-story.html
Franklin, S. (2020). Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–2020). Retrieved from nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02857-6
Ginsburg, R. B. (2016). Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s advice for living. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/opinion/sunday/ruth-bader-ginsburgs-advice-for-living.html?ref=oembed
Greenhouse, L. (2020). Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s feminist icon, is dead at 87. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/18/us/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dead.html
Isherwood, C. (2020). Why it matters that Ruth Bader Ginsburg loved theater and opera. Retrieved from https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/politics/a34089676/ruth-bader-ginsburg-theater-opera-legacy/
Levy, N. (2018). Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s favorite New York City eats. Retrieved from https://www.amny.com/eat-and-drink/ruth-bader-ginsburg-foodie-1-17245461/
McCall, R. (2020). 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s workout is super hard. Retrieved from https://www.health.com/fitness/ruth-bader-ginsburg-workout
Zambello, F. (2020). Ruth Bader Ginsburg loved opera, and opera loved her back. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/19/arts/music/ruth-bader-ginsburg-opera.html
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