The Notorious R.B.G. gained a lot of…well…notoriety at the tail end of her life. The liberal stalwart that sat as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for 27 years was an advocate for women’s rights.
And her status as a liberal icon emerged from a number of dissenting opinions she penned as a member of the minority in many cases, especially during 2000s and 2010s are notable.
Less known, though, was her partnership with her husband, Marty Ginsberg. Marty was a lawyer himself, and practiced tax law. He demonstrated a vehement support of his wife’s legal career time and time again, so much so that Marty presented Ruth — a constitutional lawyer — with one of his cases.
In the case of Moritz. v. Commissioner, the Ginsburgs defended Charles Moritz. The IRS denied their client a tax deduction as a caregiver because the law specified that the credit was only for women and formerly married men. Moritz had made the claim since he was the caregiver for his ailing mother.
It was natural that this case would fall to Marty, given his expertise on tax law; but he saw an opportunity to bring in his wife’s expertise on constitutional law. It was more than a tax case — it was a gender discrimination case.
Moritz v. Commissioner made its way up to Court of Appeals, and marked the first big win for Ruth Bader Ginsburg; it also marked the beginning of a series of cases in which she would argue in cases where men and women were treated differently.
Marty knew his wife’s strength, and forged a partnership that went beyond their legal acumen. It was evident in their marriage, too.
Knowing one’s own weaknesses is one thing; but the humility to bring on a partner whose strength compensates for that is another. That, in itself, is a strength.
It was part of the Ginsburgs’ story.
Let it be a part of yours, too.