Women in the Law

Marriage advice from Justice Ginsburg's mother-in-law has helped her in the workplace

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she has many people to thank for her success.

Her mother encouraged independence. Professors honed her writing skills, and one helped get her a federal clerkship. Her late husband, Martin, handled cooking at home; reviewed her written work; and helped garner support for her U.S. Supreme Court nomination. Ginsburg writes about their contributions in an article for the New York Times.

She also recalls important advice from her in-laws. Ginsburg had worried about starting law school after giving birth to her first child. Her father-in-law told her that, if she wanted to study law, “you will stop worrying and find a way to manage child and school.” She followed that advice, and it worked.

Her mother-in-law also offered some good advice on Ginsburg’s wedding day. “In every good marriage,” Ginsburg’s mother-in-law said, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.”

“I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil,” Ginsburg writes. “I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

Ginsburg’s column was published as she is releasing a compilation of her writings. The book is called My Own Words, the Associated Press reports.

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