March Madness, Quarterfinals (3/25/2018) — Michelle Obama v. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Women’s History Month March Madness contest enters the Quarterfinals this morning, with a clash of the titans: Michelle Obama v. Ruth Bader Ginsburg! You can vote by participating in our daily Twitter or Facebook poll, or by casting a vote at the Circulation Desk.  Happy voting!

Image via Wikipedia.

Michelle Obama-First African American First Lady of the United States-“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”

Born in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Michelle was determined from a young age to be a good student, as her father had wanted for her. She attended Chicago’s first magnet school, despite the location being three hours one way from her home. Her hard work in school paid off as Michelle graduated salutatorian and went on to follow her older brother to Princeton University. While there, Michelle worked with the Third World center, an academic and cultural group for African American Students, and published a thesis about African American Princeton Graduates. After graduating cum laude, Michelle went on to earn her law degree from Harvard Law. She continued to advocate for minorities, including participating in demonstrations to fight for the hiring of minority professors.  As First Lady, she campaigned for minority rights, women’s rights and became a well-known advocate for education reform, spurring changes in all of those areas.

Image via Oyez.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg-“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the only surviving child of two Jewish immigrants and her mother encouraged Justice Ginsburg’s education from a very young age. After marrying and giving birth to her first child, Justice Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard University, where she was immediately introduced to and discouraged by the male views of her gender in the legal profession. After experiencing many forms of gender discrimination personally, including being told she would be paid less as a law professor because she had a husband with a decent job, Justice Ginsburg became one of the most well-known advocates and legal researchers for women’s rights. She argued several times successfully to the all-male Supreme Court of the United States and her successes as a whole discouraged legislatures from treating women and men differently. After serving as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, President Clinton appointed Justice Ginsburg as the second female justice on the Supreme Court and the first female Jewish Justice. Justice Ginsburg used her position to continue the fight for women’s rights, upholding the Roe v. Wade decision and criticizing any legislation or cases that limited the ability of women to make their own decisions.

Disclaimer: This is a friendly competition that is meant to increase awareness about some amazing women. The match ups were determined by a random outcome generator, and the winner will be determined based solely on the votes submitted by the participants. We are in no way seeking to pit one woman against each other in any inappropriate way, because each woman is inspiring in her own right.

Author: Alyson Drake

Alyson Drake is the Assistant Director for Public Services and the Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech University Law School, where she also teaches courses in Texas Legal Research, and Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research and administers the Legal Practice Program's research workshops. She blogs at

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