Ruth Bader Ginsburg portrait

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will offer her personal reflections on life on Feb. 6 in Stanford Memorial Church. (Image credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will offer her personal reflections on life during the “Rathbun Lecture on a Meaningful Life,” which will be held on Monday, Feb. 6 in Stanford Memorial Church.

Ginsburg, a justice of the Supreme Court since 1993, will be in conversation with Jane Shaw, dean for religious life at Stanford.

“We are delighted that Justice Bader Ginsburg has accepted the invitation to be the seventh Rathbun Visiting Fellow,” Shaw said. “Her distinction, public service and extraordinary contribution to justice and to conversations at the heart of the American public square make her an ideal contributor to this flagship program on what it means to fashion ‘a meaningful life.'”

Ginsburg, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton, was the second woman to join the court. She served with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor until O’Connor retired in 2006. Ginsburg is now one of three women on the Supreme Court, along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Ginsburg is the author of the 2016 book of writings and speeches, My Own Words, which she wrote with her authorized biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams.

In her last appearance at Stanford in September 2013, Ginsburg described the Supreme Court term that had ended that year with divisive decisions on gay marriage, voting rights, genetics and affirmative action as, “by any account, both heady and hefty.”

But the bitter battles on the bench, the contentious cases and sharp dissents – many penned by her – don’t translate to acrimony among the justices, she told the audience.

“What holds us together is that we revere the institution for which we work,” Ginsburg said. “We know that we must maintain a high level of collegiality.”

Before joining the Supreme Court, Ginsburg served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the post in 1980.

Ginsburg was a professor of law for nearly two decades prior to becoming a judge. From 1972-1980, she taught at Columbia Law School, where she was the school’s first tenured female professor. She was a professor of law at Rutgers University of Law from 1963-1972.

In 1971, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s general counsel from 1973-1980, and on its National Board of Directors from 1974-1980.

She was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University for the academic year 1977-1978.

Ginsburg, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., earned a law degree at Columbia Law School in 1959. After graduating, she served as a law clerk to the Hon. Edmund L. Palmieri, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for two years.

She is the seventh person chosen as the Rathbun Visiting Fellow by the Office for Religious Life at Stanford.

Previous Rathbun Visiting Fellows were Oprah Winfrey, producer, actor, global media leader and philanthropist; Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund; His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama; George Shultz, former U.S. secretary of state; Sandra Day O’Connor, retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; and Garry Trudeau, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist.

While the centerpiece of the Rathbun Visiting Fellow Program will be Ginsburg’s conversation with Dean Shaw, Ginsburg will also spend some time on campus engaged in deeper discussion with smaller groups of students, faculty and staff members in a variety of other programs hosted by the dean for religious life.

The Foundation for Global Community established The Harry and Emilia Rathbun Fund for Exploring What Leads to a Meaningful Life at Stanford University.  This fund honors Harry and Emilia Rathbun and their “meaning of life” legacy of helping students experience personal reflection, thoughtful discussion and a deeper exploration of life’s purpose.

Information on a lottery for free tickets to Ginsburg’s address will be available winter quarter for students, faculty and staff members. A valid Stanford ID will be required.