U.S. mourns the death of SCOTUS Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg
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. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself. ‘Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.” This is what Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wanted to be remembered for.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nothing less than a national icon. She broke glass ceilings and brought to the judicial system, not only a captivating sense of inspiration but also an exudation of strength and independence. The United States mourns her passing (this September 18, 2020, as an effect of a pancreatic cancer complication), but they also look back at her life, her story, and the daring path she took to be where she was.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, where she grew up in a working-class low-income family. Over the years, she describes her experience with her mother as one that made her reflect her independence. "My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” Close to her family, she lost her sister as an effect of meningitis. She lost her mother the day before her high school graduation. Surrounded by loss and grievance, Ginsburg pulled on, and took her mother’s advice and dedicated herself to studying.
She attended Cornell University, and after graduating with a degree in government, she met Martin Ginsburg. They married and had their first child Jane. Both aspiring lawyers eventually enrolled at Harvard University. After transferring to Columbia Law School, she received her law degree and foraged into searching for a job. She was one of nine women at Harvard studying law and was first in her class at Columbia.
She makes mention of how all those years prior, she faced multiple setbacks finding jobs, because of gender bias. This inspired her, in part to pursue gender discrimination and civil rights as a lawyer. After clerking with a district judge, she taught at Rutgers and Columbia. She also joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she litigated gender discrimination cases. She caught the attention of then-president James ‘Jimmy’ Carter, and she was appointed a judge on the United States Court of Appeals, for the District of Columbia. Here she met future supreme court colleague, Antonin Scalia
She was nominated by President Bill Clinton, for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. While her confirmation hearings did involve testy exchanges about the death penalty and the fourth amendment, her nomination was received well. The Senate confirmed her in a 96-3 vote.
“Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say, 'My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.' But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time, their views become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.” She gradually became a leader and a fighter in the court. Whether it was protecting the right to chose, allowance of women in military schools or right to privacy, and whether she was in the dissent or in the majority, her decisions reflected championship of liberal ideals, and she slowly came to be seen as the spearhead of the liberal wing of the court. She made one of her most notable dissents in the landmark Bush v Gore case that essentially determined a large part of the United States 2000 presidential election. She made pointed comments about President Donald Trump, for which she experienced backlash.
She got the title of the Notorious RBG, for her fiery comments (a play on the notorious B.I.G.). A trailblazer, a fighter and an icon, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg started a noble fight, that the rest of the nation will now carry on.