The Woman, The Myth, The Legend
On September 18 2020, the United States lost a powerful woman who embodied all of the change you want to see in the world: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She passed away at the age of 87 after many accomplishments and leaving a mark on our country as a Supreme Court Justice. Chief Justice John Roberts stated “Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice." Her legacy lives on and it’s crucial that her work is continued for the future generations.
Ginsburg accomplished a multitude of things throughout her life, from graduating at the top of her class at Cornell University in 1954 to becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993. Regardless of her job she continued to fight adversity and gender discrimination. Therefore, when she was finally in the position to make change she made it a point to change how people had treated her. With
Photo courtesy of New York Times, one of first decisions being from the
this photo was taken prior to her United States v. Virginia she stated that
hospitalization. It was one of the last photos qualified women could be denied admission
of her; she was 87 at the time. to a military institute. Shortly after she
joined the ACLU, calculating her decisions systematically taking down specific contributions to sexism. With one of her largest accomplishments in that area being one of the first pieces of legislation Obama signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Ginsburg actively stated that she believed all groups regardless of race or gender deserve equality. One of her more radical instances involved a case regarding the Social Security act in which it favored widows over the widower favoring women. Ginsburg fought in the Supreme Court of gender equality, workers’ rights, and the separation of church and state.
Throughout Ginsburg’s career, she continued to prove she was a force to be reckoned with making history around every corner. One of her most notable cases was Bush v. Gore in which she objected to the court’s majority opinion favoring Bush. This being one of the more public cases regarding the presidential election got the attention of Americans to not write her off as just one sheep in the herd. Another more recent public case was King v. Burwell, where Ginsburg was one of six justices to uphold and protect the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Being one of the justices to uphold this act meant it would historically in place for aiding citizens in healthcare by providing subsidies. Later that same month Ginsburg was crucial in another historic decision among the Supreme Court. On June 26th 2015, the court made a 5-4 decision on making same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states. Ginsburg has publicly supported the case and made arguments early on in its favor, as she was trusted by the other justices at the time it persuaded them to follow in her footsteps. Ginsburg's ability to persuade and fight for her beliefs and the beliefs of others is what made her such a critical justice to the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg remained a force all the way up until her death at the age of 87. As President Trump enlisted new justices in the event that the older justices would retire; Ginsburg, however, announced she would not be retiring and instead brought in new clerks through 2020. She was 84 at the time. Ginsburg even went as far to say that she Photo courtesy of Global GLOW, honoring her
thought she would “stick around for five memory and her accomplishments as a justice.
more years”. Both Ginsburg and her Many have taken to time to honor her and her
decisions had been immortalized during accomplishments to acknowledge how
her time in the Supreme Court, ensuring monumental her life was.
that her legacy would live on long after her death. Although her physical body was battling pancreatic cancer, she remained a strong willed individual very capable of continuing to make change for the better. She eventually died on September 18, 2020, due to complications with the cancer.
The spirit and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg live on, and will continue to do so for decades after her death. During her time in the Supreme Court she fought for the rights of women, LGBTQ+, and people of color. She consistently took stands on issues that she believed to be right regardless of if it was the popular opinion at the time. Her courage and bravery in her decision making processes largely what made her an effective justice.
For future justices, this courage and bravery is critical to continuing her legacy and continuing to make the lives of others better.
Story by Elena Hernandez '21