Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Maureen Lynch, Staff Writer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was laid to rest Tuesday September 23 at the age of 87. After battling many health problems, she passed due to complications with her pancreas. The late Supreme Court justice was an icon to the American people because of her work to enhance gender equality.
Ginsburg was born March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. She excelled throughout her educational career, eventually making her way to Cornell University for college. There, she met her husband, Marty Ginsburg. After Marty’s stint in the military, the couple enrolled into Harvard Law School. Ginsburg excelled at Harvard, even while taking care of their first child and an ailing Marty. After graduation, Ginsburg had trouble finding work because of the prejudices surrounding mothers in the workforce. Ginsburg eventually got a job as a clerk for Judge Edmund Palmieri.
According to NPR, Ginsburg’s first big case was a challenge to a law that would not allow a man to take a tax deduction for the care of his elderly mother. The IRS at the time said that the deduction could only be claimed by a woman, or a divorced or widowed man. However, this man appealing to the court had never been married. Ginsburg worked on the case with her husband. They argued that the statute should apply to both sexes equally and ended up winning their case. This sparked Ginsburg’s mission for gender equality.
Ginsburg took on many cases in order to fight gender inequality, often working long hours while also trying to provide for her family. One of the more famous cases, Reed vs. Reed claimed that a female relative should be able to execute a will along with any male relatives. Ginsburg took on such cases with a specific strategy. According to NPR, Ginsburg knew that swaying the male judges would not be easy. She often chose to represent male clients, which often showed that discrimination against women can harm men as well. An example of such a case was Weinberger vs. Weidenfeld, in which a man was arguing for survivor’s benefits so he could take care of his child after the mother passed. Over her career as a lawyer she filed many cases all arguing a similar point: the 14th Amendment applies to all people, per its wording, which includes protection for women.
In 1980 she became a federal judge in the DC courts, and eventually became nominated for the Supreme Court. In 1993, Ginsburg was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court Justice. Throughout her time on the Supreme Court she rose in notoriety and popularity. She argued passionately for equal rights for women, often casting dissenting votes to speak about her beliefs. She has been featured in documentaries as well as a motion picture, “On the Basis of Sex.” She even had a character created for her on Saturday Night Live.
Though Ginsburg has left a glowing legacy, her death has now left a hole on the Supreme Court bench. The judicial world is now in an uproar over who will succeed her. The heightened political tensions that have engulfed the presidential campaign of 2020 have bled out into the fight over the newest justice. President Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the court. Barrett is an accomplished professor of law as well as a federal judge. There has been some fierce speculation about her political views. CNN and The Guardian reported that Barrett seems to have generally conservative views when it comes to the law. This is a far cry from Ginsburg’s typically liberal views and has Democrats scrabbling to postpone Barrett’s appointment.
Though tension now surrounds the Supreme Court, there is no denying that Ginsburg has left large shoes to fill. After leading such an impressive career, Ginsburg is remembered for her advocacy and her work ethic. She was beloved by many and will be sorely missed.