Martin D. Ginsburg

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Martin D. Ginsburg
Born Martin David Ginsburg
(1932-06-10)June 10, 1932
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died June 27, 2010(2010-06-27) (aged 78)
Washington, DC, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Taxation law
Institutions Georgetown University Law Center
Alma mater Harvard Law School
Cornell University
Influenced David Schizer
Notable awards 2006 American Bar Association Tax Section's Distinguished Service Award
Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel
Honoree, Martin D. Ginsburg Chair at GULC
SNYU, Outstand Achiev Awd
Martin Abzug Good Guy Awd
1996 Marshall-Wythe Medallion, Coll. of William and Mary Sch. Law
Spouse Ruth Bader (m. 1954)

Martin David Ginsburg (June 10, 1932 – June 27, 2010) was an internationally renowned taxation law expert. He was a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. and of counsel to the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Early life and education[edit]

Ginsburg was born to Morris and Evelyn (née Bayer) Ginsburg and grew up on New York's Long Island. His father was a department store executive.[4] Ginsburg earned an A.B. from Cornell University in 1953 and a J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School in 1958.[2] He was a star on Cornell's golf team.[3][4] Ginsburg finished a year at law school and married Ruth Joan Bader after her graduation from Cornell. That same year, Ginsburg, an ROTC Officer in the Army Reserve, was called up for active duty, and stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.[5][6] Ginsburg took advantage of his undergraduate training in chemistry to work in the mess hall. In 1956, he returned to law school and his wife also entered Harvard Law School. During his third year at Harvard, Ginsburg endured two operations and radiation therapy to treat testicular cancer.[7]


After graduating from law school in 1958, Ginsburg joined the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He was subsequently admitted to the bar in New York in 1959 and in the District of Columbia in 1980.[2]

Ginsburg taught at New York University Law School throughout the 1960s,[3] and was a visiting professor at Stanford Law School (1977–1978),[1] Harvard Law School (1985–1986), University of Chicago Law School (1989–1990), and at NYU (1992–1993).[8] He was a tenured professor at Columbia Law School (Beekman Professor of Law) from 1979 to 1980, and at Georgetown from 1980 until his death in 2010.[1][9]

In 1971, Ginsburg's firm represented H. Ross Perot in a business matter, and the two men became close friends. After President Jimmy Carter nominated his wife to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, Ginsburg reached out to Perot and other influential friends to assure her Senate confirmation.[1] In 1984, Ginsburg resolved complex tax questions that threatened General Motors's acquisition of Perot's Electronic Data Systems. In 1986, Perot endowed the Martin Ginsburg chair in taxation at Georgetown Law Center, although Ginsburg never filled this appointment.[1][9]

Personal life and marriage[edit]

Shortly after he graduated from Cornell in 1954, Ginsburg married future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader on June 23, 1954. Ruth has explained that she and Martin decided that whatever profession they would pursue, they were going to pursue together. The couple chose law and both studied at Harvard Law School. They are the parents of Jane Carol Ginsburg (born 1955, HLS 1980), and James Steven Ginsburg (born 1965). Martin often told people how he did not make Law Review at Harvard, and Ruth did, sharing how he was proud of her successes, even when they were above his own. However, as he was also very successful in his career as a tax attorney, the couple enjoyed supporting one another and maintaining balance.[10] Ginsburg was quoted as saying, "We had nearly two whole years far from school, far from career pressures and far from relatives, to learn about each other and begin to build a life"[11] They both thrived in their own domains.[12] As his lighthearted and loving self, Martin liked to boast he was incredibly lucky to have gotten in on an incredible journey by marrying Ruth, on her pathway to the Supreme Court.[12]

The dynamic of the Ginsburg’s marriage was very radical for their day and age. Ruth did not lose her freedom or career to housewife obligations and neither of them upheld the stereotypical roles of their gender. Rather, they had a partnership in which they maintained the same goals and worked together to pursue them, all the while maintaining true endearment and love for one another. Martin received praise in the press for supporting his wife, following where her career took them, and putting her first. He, however, simply remarked, “It’s not a sacrifice; it’s family”.[13] Additionally, such sacrifices were mutual. Just as Martin moved to Washington D.C. for Ruth’s career, Ruth willingly transferred from Harvard to Columbia Law school to follow her husband in his. In the same way they maintained balance in their home life, putting the needs of the other first and keeping balance between who would focus on work and who would take on the majority of the childcare. They had a mutual agreement that, unless there were extreme circumstances, they would both be home every night for dinner with their family.[14] Ruth was very insistent that it be known that her children had two parents and two caretakers, not just herself. Such agreements resulted in equally shared responsibilities at home, therefore giving them both room to split their time fairly and maintain successful careers.

Martin happily took on the cooking, helped with childcare, and other domestic roles, despite how uncommon it was for men to do so in his day and age. Once each term, he cooked a meal for his wife's clerks.[15]


Ginsburg died from cancer on June 27, 2010.[16] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[17]



  1. ^ a b c d e Stephen Labaton (June 17, 1993). "The Man Behind the High Court Nominee". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "Martin David Ginsburg." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. Fee via Fairfax County Public Library, accessed 2009-09-30. Document Number: K2014612855.
  3. ^ a b c Pamela F. Olson (May 5, 2006). "2006 Distinguished Service Award Recipient: Professor Martin D. Ginsburg" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ a b Strebeigh, Fred (2009). Equal: Women Reshape American Law (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-06555-8. LCCN 2008044463. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  5. ^ "A Conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg at Harvard Law School". Harvard Law School. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  6. ^ Hensley, Thomas R.; Hale, Kathleen; Snook, Carl (2006). ) The Rehnquist Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy Check |url= value (help). ABC-CLIO Supreme Court handbooks (hardcover ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 92. ISBN 1-57607-200-2. LCCN 2006011011. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  7. ^ Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 31, 2004). "THE CHANGING COMPLEXION OF HARVARD LAW SCHOOL" (PDF). Harvard Women's Law Journal. President and Fellows of Harvard College. 27: 306. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  8. ^ "Sequence 2536 (Page 7): Harvard Law School. Harvard Law School catalog. [Cambridge, Mass. : Published by the University, 1970-., Harvard University Library PDS". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Library. Retrieved 2009-10-01. Martin D. Ginsburg, A.8., J.D., Visiting Professor of Law (Spring Term 1985-86) 
  9. ^ a b "Martin D. Ginsburg." Directory of American Scholars, 10th ed. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. Fee via Fairfax County Public Library, accessed 2009-09-30. Document Number: K1612531251
  10. ^ Carmon, Irin (2015). Notorious R.B.G. The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. New York: Harper Collins. 
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b Carmon, Irin (2015). Notorious RBG. Harper Collins. p. 96. 
  13. ^ Carmon, Irin (2015). Notorious RBG. Harper Collins. p. 98. 
  14. ^ Carmon, Irin (2015). Notorious RBG. Harper Collins. p. 102. 
  15. ^ Christopher R. Benson (2007). "A Renewed Call for Diversity Among Supreme Court Clerks: How a Diverse Body of Clerks Can Aid the High Court as an Institution" (PDF). Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal. Harvard Law School. 23: 42. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  16. ^ "Husband of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies". The Washington Post. June 27, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Martin Ginsburg, justice's husband, dies". USA Today. June 28, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 

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