Richest BusinessLawyers
Net Worth:
$8 Million
$235 Thousand
Mar 15, 1933 - Sep 18, 2020 (87 years old)
New York City, U.S.
💰 Compare Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Net Worth

What was Ruth Bader Ginsburg's net worth and salary?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American lawyer and judge who had a net worth of $8 million at the time of her death according to last asset disclosure. Her asset disclosure listed a range of net worth from as low as $4 million to as high as $18 million. She was the wealthiest judge on the Supreme Court for much of her life. Ruth's 2002 wealth disclosure listed a range of net worth from $8 million to as high as $34 million. Her wealth estimates did not include the value of her home in Washington.

Ruth served as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1993 until her death on September 18, 2020. Before this, she served on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was renowned for her work advocating for women's rights and gender parity.

Supreme Court Salary

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's annual salary for serving as a justice of the Supreme Court was $255,300.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Creative Commons/Public Domain

Early Life and Education

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born as Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York City as the second daughter of Jewish parents Celia and Nathan. When Ginsburg was still a baby, her six-year-old sister Marilyn died from meningitis. Ginsburg was a strong student growing up, graduating from James Madison High School at just 15 years of age. Just a day before her graduation, her mother passed away from cancer. Ginsburg went on to attend Cornell University, from which she graduated with a BA in government in 1954. A couple years later, she enrolled at Harvard Law School, where she was one of the few women in a class of around 500. Clashing with her sexist dean, Ginsburg ended up transferring to Columbia Law School, graduating in 1959.

Career Beginnings

Ginsburg struggled with the sexism of the legal industry during her early years looking for work. In 1960, she was rejected for a clerkship by Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on account of her gender. Eventually, a threatening recommendation from her Columbia professor Gerald Gunther resulted in Ginsburg's hiring as a law clerk for Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Ginsburg returned to academia in 1961 to become a research associate for the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure; she was then promoted to associate director. During her time working on the project, she did research in Sweden and co-authored a book with Anders Bruzelius. Ginsburg's time in Sweden – a country with much greater gender equality than the US at the time – significantly impacted her views going forward. In 1963, Ginsburg had her first professorial appointment at Rutgers Law School. One of the few female law professors in the country, she held her position through 1972. During her time at Rutgers, Ginsburg co-founded the law journal the Women's Rights Law Reporter. She had her next professorship at her alma mater of Columbia Law School, where she taught through 1980.

At the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women's Rights Project. The next year, she became the general counsel of the Project, which went on to participate in over 300 gender discrimination cases between 1973 and 1974. Ginsburg's extensive advocacy and litigation work with the ACLU is credited with advancing women's rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. She continued to work on the Women's Rights Project until she was appointed to the Federal Bench in 1980.

US Court of Appeals

In April of 1980, Ginsburg was nominated by President Carter for a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She was confirmed a couple months later. During her tenure, she earned a reputation for being cautious and moderate; she also found frequent consensus with some of her conservative colleagues, such as Antonin Scalia and Robert H. Bork.

US Supreme Court

Ginsburg left the US Court of Appeals in 1993 when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to replace retiring justice Byron White on the Supreme Court. Following her confirmation, she became the second woman and the first Jewish woman to become a Supreme Court justice. Eventually joining the Court's liberal wing, Ginsburg wrote many majority opinions during her tenure. Some of the most notable ones included 1996's United States v. Virginia; 1999's Olmstead v. L.C.; and 2005's City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York.

Personal Life and Death

While a student at Cornell, Ruth Ginsburg met fellow student Martin D. Ginsburg. The pair married one month after Ruth's graduation, and moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where Martin was stationed in the US Army Reserve. Martin went on to become a tax attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges; he also taught at Georgetown University Law Center for a while. The Ginsburgs had a daughter named Jane in 1955 and a son named James in 1965. Jane teaches at Columbia Law School, while James is the founder and president of the record label Cedille Records. In 2010, Martin Ginsburg passed away from cancer.

Ginsburg had her own health struggles. In 1999, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, which was successfully treated; during this time, she failed to miss a single day on the Court bench. To boost her physical health, Ginsburg trained in a justices-only gym under former Army reservist Bryant Johnson. Almost a decade after beating colon cancer, Ginsburg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She underwent successful treatment, and returned to the bench. Later, in 2018, Ginsburg fractured three ribs after falling in her office. During her hospital stay, it was found that she had lung cancer. Ginsburg underwent a lobectomy, and returned to the bench in early 2019. Later that year, she had treatment for a recurrence of pancreatic cancer; she had further treatment for another recurrence in 2020. Ginsburg passed away from complications of pancreatic cancer in September of 2020, at the age of 87.


Ginsburg's legacy is largely defined by her tireless work advocating for women's rights and overall gender equality. In 2002, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Considered a trailblazer, she won a plethora of awards for her work, including the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, the Liberty Medal, and the World Peace & Liberty Award.

Ginsburg is also considered an icon of American popular culture, with her famous visage and signature jabot appearing in various artistic mediums, from graffiti to tattoos to T-shirts. Actress Kate McKinnon memorably portrayed Ginsburg on the television sketch show "Saturday Night Live." Ginsburg was also the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary "RBG," as well as the biographical drama film "On the Basis of Sex," in which she was portrayed by Felicity Jones.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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