Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared James Madison High School with senators, professional athletes, other judges

Recently passed Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from the same high school as many other influential people

Bruce Detorres (Flickr)

Recently passed Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from the same high school as many other influential people

Michael Russell, Reporter

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last week at the age of 87. Ginsburg was nominated to the United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1980 by President Carter and then to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Clinton where she served since 1993.

Ginsburg was born and raised in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Ginsburg’s mother, Celia, was a strong influence and role model for her daughter. Celia passed away the day before Ruth graduated from nearby James Madison High School in 1950.

Bader would go on to graduate from Cornell University and graduate first in her class at Columbia Law School, leaving her old neighborhood of Midwood and Madison High behind, but not forgotten.

Interestingly enough, a lot of giants in their field have come from the same neighborhood and high school as Ginsburg including two U.S. Senators who will have a vote on Ginsburg’s replacement.

The Senate is where all Supreme Court nominees either get confirmed or rejected and President Trump’s selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ginsburg’s seat is no exception.

Leading the Senate charge against confirmation is James Madison High graduate, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer(D).

While at Madison, Schumer aced the SAT exams with a perfect 1600 score and was class valedictorian in 1967. However, it will likely take more than just Schumer’s intellect to overcome the 53-47 advantage the Republicans enjoy in the Senate.

Another, perhaps more well-known Senator, Bernie Sanders began running races as a high school track star at James Madison. Sanders, who now runs for considerably more than a high school track medallion, finished second in the last two Democratic Presidential Primaries and wields considerable clout.

At one point there were three James Madison graduates serving in the 100 member U.S. Senate at the same time. The third was Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Coleman was involved in three of the most intriguing and noteworthy elections in U.S. history.

The first was when he was the mayor of St. Paul and favorite in the 1998 Minnesota Governor’s race. Coleman lost in a colossal upset that no one saw coming.  Coleman didn’t lose to a Democrat that election, but to third party candidate and former WWE wrestling star Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

Secondly, Coleman was trailing in his 2002 Minnesota Senate race against incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone when, 11 days before the election, Wellstone’s campaign plane went down , killing the senator, his wife, daughter and five other people. The Democrats quickly brought in former Vice President Walter Mondale to run, but he had little time to prepare and Coleman won.

Lastly, in Coleman’s 2008 re-election bid, he held on to win by the closest margin in the Senate’s history, 215 votes out of nearly three million cast. A recount was called for by his opponent, comedian Al Franken. Incredibly, Franken won after a six-month recount process by 312 votes.

Two other well-known comedians, Andrew Dice Clay and Chris Rock also attended James Madison High in the 1970s and 1980s.

Another future judge, Judith Scheindlin, graduated from Madison in the 1960’s. Scheindlin is perhaps the most well-known and best paid judge around — as television personality Judge Judy.

Many other noteworthy Madison graduates include Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winners, five Nobel Prize winners, a 9/11 hero, notable writers and journalists as well as several Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA players among many others.

Years ago, James Madison High created a Wall of Distinction, to recognize the numerous, extremely successful alumni who have passed through their halls. Induction ceremonies are held every two years in Brooklyn. In 2001, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was among the first class of honorees.