It has been almost two months now since American Supreme court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b. 1933-2020) passed away. Facing complications from pancreatic cancer, she died on September 18th at the age of 87. The news of her death, like so much of the news nowadays, was heartbreaking to so many worldwide and her absence is especially felt in the midst of the 2020 American Presidential Election.
The Brooklyn- born lawyer established a strong voice as a scholar, litigator, teacher, judge, and feminist who fought hard for equality in and out of the courtroom. In terms of her career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s achievements are numerous. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, she served on the US Supreme Court from 1993 till her death. RBG was the first Jewish woman and second woman to serve on the US Supreme Court and her achievements leading up to her nomination are truly remarkable. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell and went on to graduate first in her class at Columbia Law School, later becoming the first female professor at Columbia Law School in 1972. She co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Right Project, with the aim of confronting laws that promoted unequal treatment based on sex. One of Ginsburg’s early anti-discrimination cases, Reed V. Reed (1971) exposed an Idaho law that granted priority to men over women in estate administration and therefore violating the equal-protection clause. Ginsburg was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she remained until her Supreme Court appointment in 1993.
It was in the later years of her life, that she received attention in American popular culture. In 2006, Sandra O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court which meant Ginsburg was the only serving female justice. It was then, that her profile as a pop culture icon began to rise as a result of her increasingly spirited disapproval, notably in Shelby County v. Holder, case that resulted in ‘The Notorious R.B.G.’ meme. Her celebrity status as a feminist icon grew as she appeared on late-night television, and became the subject of numerous books and films, most notably the 2018 documentary film ‘RBG’.
Shortly after her death- 10 f****** days – Trump nominated republican Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Ginsburg’s Supreme Court position. She assumed office on October 27th, 2020, voted in by the US Senate 52-48 with all Democratic Party senators opposing her nomination. Comparing the experience of Ginsburg and Barrett is really quite depressing as Barrett lacks the decades of law experience that Ginsburg had when she assumed the position. As disappointing as it is, it is important to remember that RBG’s career and her ultimate mark of honor is the ways in which she inspired so many young women and therefore, her death creates an empty space for new female litigators to fill.
Ultimately, Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves behind a legacy that the American people can be proud and something that can also be felt based on the ways numerous Americans are able to live their lives today. RBG has been and will continue to be a powerful role model for young women everywhere. God Bless Ruth Bader Ginsburg.