A few days after Bader graduated from Cornell, she married Martin D. Ginsburg, who later became an internationally prominent tax attorney practicing at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Upon her accession to the D.C. Circuit, the couple moved from New York City to Washington, D.C., where her husband became a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.
Their daughter, Jane C. Ginsburg (b. 1955), is a professor at Columbia Law School.
Their son, James Steven Ginsburg (b. 1965), is the founder and president of Cedille Records, a classical music recording company based in Chicago, Illinois. Ginsburg was a grandmother of four.
After the birth of their daughter, Ginsburg’s husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. During this period, Ginsburg attended class and took notes for both of them, typing her husband’s dictated papers and caring for their daughter and her sick husband—all while making the Harvard Law Review.
They celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on June 23, 2010. Martin Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic cancer on June 27, 2010.
They spoke publicly of being in a shared earning/shared parenting marriage including in a speech Martin Ginsburg wrote and had intended to give before his death that Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered posthumously.
Ruth was a non-observant Jew.
In March 2015, Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt released an essay titled “The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover”, an essay highlighting the roles of five key women in the saga: The text states;
“These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day …”
In addition, she decorated her chambers with an artist’s rendering of the Hebrew phrase from Deuteronomy, “Zedek, zedek, tirdof,” (“Justice, justice shall you pursue”) as a reminder of her heritage and professional responsibility.
Ginsburg had a collection of lace jabots from around the world.
She said in 2014 she had a particular jabot she wore when issuing her dissents (black with gold embroidery and faceted stones) as well as another she wore when issuing majority opinions (crocheted yellow and cream with crystals), which was a gift from her law clerks.
Her favorite jabot (woven with white beads) was from Cape Town, South Africa.
In 1999, Ginsburg was diagnosed with colon cancer, the first of her five bouts with cancer.
She underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During the process, she did not miss a day on the bench.
That reads exactly as the script of Chadwick Boseman who fought Colon cancer but through it all did not miss a single day of work and gave us crazy amounts of movies in this time actually his best body of work! He did not miss a single day of shoot!
Greatness looks, works, moves alike! Ginsburg unlike Chadwick won her battle with this particular cancer!
She was physically weakened by the cancer treatment though, and she began working with a personal trainer.
Bryant Johnson, a former Army reservist attached to the U.S. Army Special Forces, trained Ginsburg twice weekly in the justices-only gym at the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg saw her physical fitness improve after her first bout with cancer; she was able to complete twenty push-ups in a session before her 80th birthday.
Nearly a decade after her first bout with cancer, Ginsburg again underwent surgery on February 5, 2009, this time for pancreatic cancer.
Ginsburg had a tumor that was discovered at an early stage. She was released from a New York City hospital on February 13 and returned to the bench when the Supreme Court went back into session on February 23, 2009.
After experiencing discomfort while exercising in the Supreme Court gym in November 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery.
Ginsburg’s next hospitalization helped her detect another round of cancer. On November 8, 2018, Ginsburg fell in her office at the Supreme Court, fracturing three ribs, for which she was hospitalized.
An outpouring of public support followed. Although the day after her fall, Ginsburg’s nephew revealed she had already returned to official judicial work after a day of observation, a CT scan of her ribs following her November 8 fall showed cancerous nodules in her lungs.
On December 21, Ginsburg underwent a left-lung lobectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to remove the nodules.
For the first time since joining the Court more than 25 years earlier, Ginsburg missed oral argument on January 7, 2019, while she recuperated.
She returned to the Supreme Court on February 15 to participate in a private conference with other justices in her first appearance at the court since her cancer surgery in December 2018.
Months later in August 2019, the Supreme Court announced that Ginsburg had recently completed three weeks of focused radiation treatment to ablate a tumor found in her pancreas over the summer.
By January 2020, Ginsburg was cancer-free. By February 2020, Ginsburg was not cancer free but it was not released to the public.
However, by May 2020, Ginsburg was once again receiving treatment for a recurrence of cancer.
She reiterated her position that she “would remain a member of the court as long as I can do the job full steam”, adding that she remained fully able to do so.
Ginsburg died from complications of pancreatic cancer on September 18, 2020, at age 87. Ginsburg died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, and according to Rabbi Richard Jacobs;
“One of the themes of Rosh Hashanah suggest that very righteous people would die at the very end of the year because they were needed until the very end”.
After the announcement of her death, thousands of people gathered in front of the Supreme Court building to lay flowers, light candles, and leave messages.
Ginsburg is expected to lie in repose at the Supreme Court. A public viewing is planned to be held outdoors. She will reportedly be interred in Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband.
Ginsburg’s death opened a vacancy on the Supreme Court about six weeks before the 2020 presidential election, initiating controversies regarding the nomination and confirmation of her successor.
Ginsburg dictated in a statement through her granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death, stating:
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
In the hours following news of her death, more than $20 million was donated to various Democratic politicians via ActBlue, more than quintuple the previous record amount.
Around $80 million was donated through ActBlue within 24 hours of her death. Ginsburg will lie in state at the Capitol. She will be both the first Jew and the first woman to lie in state therein.