Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Law '59 (March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020) was a Supreme Court Justice. She graduated from Columbia Law after transferring from Harvard for personal reasons, and was the first woman to serve on both the Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews. Ginsburg requested a Harvard Law degree despite the transfer, which was refused to her at the time. Subsequently, Harvard amended its policies and allowed students to finish their third year of law school elsewhere and still receive a Harvard degree, and offered to award Ginsburg a Harvard Law degree retroactively. She refused.
Despite coming to Columbia late in her law school career, she graduated tied for first in her class. From 1961 to 1963 she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She then briefly moved on to Rutgers before returning to become Columbia Law's first tenured woman, teaching from 1972 to 1980, when President Carter appointed her her to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.