Ruth Bader Ginsburg

TIME 100 2015 Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sebastian Kim for TIME

The high Court’s counterweight

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had two distinguished legal careers, either one of which would alone entitle her to be one of TIME’s 100. When she was a law professor at Rutgers and later Columbia, she became the leading (and very successful) litigator on behalf of women’s rights—the Thurgood Marshall of that cause, so to speak. President Carter appointed her to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, and President Clinton to a seat on the Supreme Court in 1993.

Having had the good fortune to serve beside her on both courts, I can attest that her opinions are always thoroughly considered, always carefully crafted and almost always correct (which is to say we sometimes disagree). That much is apparent for all to see.

What only her colleagues know is that her suggestions improve the opinions the rest of us write, and that she is a source of collegiality and good judgment in all our work.

Justice Scalia is the longest-serving member currently on the Supreme Court

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