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Ginsburg, Ruth Bader signed landmark decision

Ruth Bader Ginsburg –Supreme Court Justice signed and dated excerpt of her landmark opinion on women’s rights in the case of United States v. Virginia. The 1997 case ruled that Virginia’s men only admission policy for the Virginia Military Institute violated the Equal Protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment and was therefore unconstitutional. Writing for the 7-1 majority, Ginsburg reached back to the 1971 landmark Court case of Reed v. Reed that for the first time applied the 14th Amendment to women’s equality. Ginsburg wrote the brief and was on the ACLU team that argued the case. This makes her opinion more remarkable in being her first landmark opinion as Justice –drawing on one of her first arguments to the Court as pioneering lawyer more than 25 years earlier. She wrote in her majority opinion “In 1971, for the first time in our Nation’s history, this Court ruled in favor of a woman who complained that her state had denied her the equal protection of its laws. Since Reed v. Reed, the Court has repeatedly recognized that neither federal nor state government acts compatibly with the equal protection principle when a law or official policy denies to women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature…”

The opinion is a lengthy (about 1200 word) distillation of the full opinion. It is printed on a heavy 11 x 17 sheet of modern parchment style paper (not actual parchment). Bader boldly signed and dated it at the bottom 6/20/97 – almost one year to the day after she delivered the opinion.

There were 12 of these produced by a collector, requested her to sign two and keep the other 10. Although not the complete opinion, it is an impressive display item capturing one of the most important decisions of one of the Court’s most iconic figures.

It is accompanied by an UNSIGNED 8 x 10 official color portrait as a Justice.