The Life and Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Elizabeth Holmes, Editor in Chief, Podcast Editor

Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away on September 18th due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been celebrated as a major feminist icon since the 1980’s. As a pioneer for modern female lawyers, she fought to bring equality into the law and firmly believed that no one should be discriminated on the basis of their sex. She’s accredited with women being able to own a house without husband, and to have their own credit card without a husband, neither of which were legal. Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women’s rights, opening doors for generations of women long before they came

In her early life, she graduated first of her class from Columbia. She originally attended Harvard with just only 9 other women in her entire graduating class that was filled with 500 other men, none of which were very accepting of her. During that time period, she not only completed her own course of study, rising to the top ranks of her class, but also attended classes and wrote essays in place of her husband who was suffering from cancer. She was also raising their infant daughter, and rarely got more than 3 hours of sleep a night. The two originally met as undergraduates at Cornell and married in 1954.

“Marty Ginsburg was the first boy I ever met that cared I had a brain.”

After she transferred and graduated from Columbia, she found it exceedingly difficult to find a job, it was the 1960’s and for women, that time still didn’t allow women to be present at the table. She was often told that simply because she was a woman, they wouldn’t hire her. It didn’t matter how qualified, or over qualified she was, her gender held her back from pursuing her well-deserved law career.

She served as a law clerk and later found herself as a law professor at Columbia. During this time period, she argued and won multiple cases before the Supreme Court on behalf of the ACLU. She was part of the law team that won the first case before the Supreme Court on the basis of sex discrimination. She argued 6 total cases before the Supreme Court, only losing one. After she was appointed, she was just the second woman to have served on the Supreme Court in history. The first being Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1993, with a senate vote of 96 to 3 in favor of her.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg marks the end of an era. She was and is considered the most liberal judge on the bench, and one of the most liberal in history. She fought for female reproductive rights on cases like Roe V. Wade, and Griswold V. Connecticut,

“The state controlling a woman is denying her full anatomy and full equality”

She helped win United States V. Virginia which opened up the Virginia Military school to allow women to attend. She helped legalize gay marriage in 2016 and helped settle Bush v. Gore in 2000.

Ginsburg had been dedicated to the law and to the constitution the majority of her life; she was known to carry a pocket constitution in her purse everywhere she went.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg served on the bench until her death; her niece revealed that two weeks prior to her passing, she was still planning ahead for the future, no matter how unlikely her future was.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is tragic, but she leaves behind her legacy of determination, strength, justice, humility, and above all else; her core belief in the unalienable rights of every human being.

[I would like to be remembered as] someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”