I am sure you have all heard of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020, at 87 years of age. I do not wish to expound on the political controversies surrounding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Instead, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the beauty and positive influences she left on the world.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served for 27 years in our nation’s highest court. However, she took a stand for women’s rights and gender equality, beginning in the 1970s. Justice Ruth Bader, along with her husband, attended law school at Harvard, where she was 1 of 9 women in 500. During law school, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cared for him, attended to their toddler, and somehow managed to keep up with her studies. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg eventually transferred to Columbia, where she graduated with honors. Despite having graduated with honors, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found it extremely difficult to obtain a job in the legal field as she was a woman.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg eventually landed a job as a law school professor at Rutgers Law School. This is where she began her advocacy of gender equality. In 1971 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote her first Supreme Court Brief in a case entitled Reed v. Reed. The constitutional issue being looked at was whether or not a state could automatically prefer a male over a female executor of an estate. The answer, from an all-male Supreme Court, was a resounding, no.
Justice Ruth Bader went on to become the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School. She also founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. Over the course of her career, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed numerous briefs to persuade the courts that the equal protection rights of the 14th Amendment apply not only to race and ethnicity but also to women.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter named Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Then, in 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court. She was the second woman appointed to this position and was confirmed by a 96 to 3 vote by the Senate.
In 2006 after the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissents came more frequently and more assertively, especially on issues involving women’s rights.
There are many stories (which I implore you to research) advocacies for justice and triumphs during Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life that strike all of our hearts. However, it was the true grit, determination, and perseverance of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that I admire the most and will remember her for.