Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passes away after 13 years on the court

Anna Gould, Reporter

On Friday, Sept. 18, the nation mourned the loss of an American hero. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her battle with cancer, leaving behind an 87-year legacy. Not only did Justice Ginsburg fiercely advocate for women’s rights in our society, she also fought against discrimination of any kind to ensure that all individuals are created equal.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew what it was like to be discriminated against. During a time when women were seen as inferior to their counterparts, she graduated number one in her class at Cornell University. From there, she attended both Harvard and Columbia Law School where, at the former, she was one of nine women in a class of 500. 

At the same time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked within the American Civil Liberties Union as a lawyer to help further advance women’s rights. While taking cases for this organization, Ginsburg started a revolutionary foundation: the Women’s Rights Project. Partnering with Brenda Feigen, the pair argued before the Supreme Court in cases like Reed v. Reed. Here, the two determined women won their case arguing that women have the constitutional right to be protected and recognized under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This was a huge win for women across the country; however, it was only one of many victories for the future Justice. 

After a hefty and lengthy journey through law, Ginsburg was nominated to the United States Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. At the time, she was the second ever sitting woman serving on the Supreme Court, succeeding Sandra Day O’Connor. While on the bench, the powerhouse that ruled the left made many historic decisions that affect millions of Americans every single day. She allowed women to legally attend the all-male Virginia Military Institute, helped legalize gay marriage and even made it illegal for institutions to discriminate against people with disabilities. 

Although Justice Ginsburg brought great change to our country, her most influential cases were fighting against gender discrimination. In the case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., she upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of gender. Also while behind the bench, Ginsburg reinstated the separation of a woman’s bodily autonomy from the state in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The defense of a woman’s right to choose surrounding her own reproductive rights made RBG an icon. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has succumbed to a political argument in our current state of affairs. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, it can be agreed upon that Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer that challenged the status quo and had a profound impact on women and men alike throughout her long career. May she rest in power.

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