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Martin D. Ginsburg
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband Martin D. Ginsburg in 2009.jpg
Martin Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a White House event, 2009
Martin David Ginsburg

(1932-06-10)June 10, 1932
Died June 27, 2010(2010-06-27) (aged 78)
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard Law School
Cornell University
Joan Ruth Bader (m. 1954)
  • Jane
  • James
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
Scientific career
Institutions Georgetown University Law Center
Influenced David Schizer

Martin David Ginsburg (June 10, 1932 – June 27, 2010) was an American lawyer who specialized in tax law and was the husband of American lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He taught law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. and was of counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of the American law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Early life and education

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York to Evelyn (née Bayer) and Morris Ginsburg, a department store executive. He grew up in Rockville Centre, Long Island, where he attended South Side High School. His family was Jewish. Ginsburg earned a B.A. from Cornell University in 1953 and a J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School in 1958. He was a star on Cornell's golf team. After finishing a year at law school, Ginsburg married Joan Ruth Bader in 1954, 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. Ginsburg had an undergraduate training in chemistry. 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.


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.

Ginsburg taught at New York University Law School as an adjunct faculty member from 1967 to 1979. He was a visiting professor at Stanford Law School (1977–1978), Harvard Law School (1985–1986), the University of Chicago Law School (1989–1990), and NYU (1992–1993). He was a tenured professor at Columbia Law School (Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law) from 1979 to 1980, and at Georgetown Law Center from 1980 until his death in 2010.

In 1971, Ginsburg's firm represented 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. 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, although Ginsburg himself never held this seat.

Personal life and marriage

Photograph of President William J. Clinton Attending the Swearing-In of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Associate Supreme Court Justice
Ginsburg and President Bill Clinton look on as Ruth Bader Ginsburg is sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice William Rehnquist (August 10, 1993)

Shortly after graduating from Cornell in 1954, Ginsburg married Ruth Bader on June 23. Ruth said she and Martin decided whatever profession they pursued, they would pursue it together. The couple chose law, and both studied at Harvard Law School.

They are the parents of Jane Carol Ginsburg (born 1955), 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. 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." They thrived in their own domains. As his lighthearted self, Martin liked to say he was very lucky to have gotten in on an incredible journey by marrying Ruth, on her pathway to the Supreme Court.


Martin David Ginsburg died from cancer on June 27, 2010. As a US Army Reserve ROTC officer, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Following her death from pancreatic cancer in 2020, Justice Ginsburg was laid to rest in Arlington next to her husband.

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