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Press Release - May 19, 2021

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Annotated Columbia Law School Book Sold for $18,125 at Heritage Auctions

Former Supreme Court Justice was first woman on Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews


Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Personal Heavily Annotated Columbia Law School Book
DALLAS, Texas (May 19, 2021) — A Columbia Law School textbook once owned and full of notes by former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the unquestioned giants of the U.S. legal system sold, for $18,125 in Heritage Auctions' Manuscripts Auction May 19. An exceptional artifact from RBG's early legal career, the keepsake represents the only annotated scholarly book on law belonging to Ginsburg ever offered at auction.

The auction price well exceed pre-auction estimates that it would sell for $10,000. The winning bidder does not wish to be identified at this time.

The heavily annotated Columbia Law School Book, The French Legal System – An Introduction to Civil Law Systems is one of the texts that helped to launch the career of a pioneer in the battle for women's rights and LGBTQ rights, who changed the role of women in the legal world.

In both ink and pencil, Columbia law student RBG underlined portions of 120 pages and added scores of handwritten notes in the margins. A few excerpts: "Career judic[iary]...Law prof & practitioners can in theory be applied but rare in practice...Written const[itution]. as expression of polit[ical] program of regime not fund[amental]. Unchanging outline of structure of gov't & basic civ[il] lib[ertie]s...fear of strong exec[utive]...distrust of judges...pre-em of Nat'l Assembly...both- life tenure for judges...Sep[aration] of powers means indep[endent] - not checks & balances...purpose of sep[aration] of power in Fr[ance]...self restraint...Sep[aration] of powers means indep[endent] of each from the other, not checks & balances...Const[itutuional] law re. validity of legis[lation] arises prior to of indiv[idual] R[igh]ts Not const[itutional] law...Indiv[idual] lib[erties] based on statutes."

For images and information on all lots in the sale, visit

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Eric Bradley, Director, Public Relations

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