Ruth Bader Ginsburg died yesterday and left us with a gaping hole in our hearts and in the United States Supreme Court.
Why is our country reeling from the death of such a woman? The answer is that even though she was small in stature and very soft-spoken, she was a giant voice for gender equality, women’s interests, and civil rights.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from Columbia Law School, going on to become a trailblazing attorney for the fair treatment of women and working with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980 and appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Being only the second woman to serve on the highest court in our land, she did not take this situation lightly. She earned a reputation as someone refusing to step down, and presenting some emotional liberal dissents.
Ginsburg earned her place in Pop-culture when she was given the nickname RBG through decades of fighting for equality, on and off the bench. This was a play on rapper Biggie Smalls’ Notorious B.I.G. nickname.
When asked if she felt uncomfortable about being compared to him, she replied:
“Why should I feel uncomfortable? We have a lot in common. First and foremost, we were both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.”
“When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?’ and my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg
As a judge, Ginsburg preferred caution, moderation and restraint. She offered a strong voice in favor of gender equality, the rights of workers and the separation of church and state. She fought so that the promises of the constitution would be applied to all people.
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
This is exactly what she did. With dignity and respect she helped us all to see the injustices that are prevalent in our country and to question the merit of such practices.
About her legacy, she said:
“To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”
Well, Justice Ginsburg, I think you can rest easy knowing that you accomplished this goal many times over.