Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tribute

Flags Half Staff
Flags on campus fly at half staff on Sept 25th, in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. PHOTO BY JESSICA MCWILLIAMS.

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th, 2020. She passed away due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87 years old and still serving on the Supreme Court. 

Born on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, Ginsburg grew up understanding the value of education.  

She attended Harvard as a law student after receiving her bachelor’s degree. She was one of only nine females going to Harvard Law School at that time. When all was said and done, she became the first female member of the Harvard Law Review

It was at Harvard Ginsburg found the motivation to fight for gender equality. As the story goes, her dean asked her and the other females in the program why they were taking seats meant for men. This was in 1956. 

After her husband, Martin Ginsburg, relocated to start his law firm, she followed. She finished her graduate’s degree at Columbia University. She graduated with a law degree in 1959. 

Once Ginsburg graduated, she had a hard time finding a firm that would hire her. She had received high grades and even worked hard as an intern in her second year of law school.  

Ginsburg found herself turned down by firm after firm simply because she was a woman. That was until Judge Edmund L. Palmieri hired her as a clerk.  

The 1970s were a big decade for Ginsburg’s accomplishments. She helped start and worked as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. During this time, she went before the Supreme Court for six gender equality landmark cases. 

From 1972 to 1980, Ginsburg also worked at Columbia as the first female tenured professor. She didn’t stop there with her major accomplishments. 

President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was the second woman ever to receive this honor. 

Ginsburg ended up writing the landmark decision for the United States vs. Virginia. In this case, it was found that the Virginia Military Institute couldn’t deny women from joining.  

When 2002 came along, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In August of 2010, the American Bar Association awarded Ginsburg the ABA medal. The ABA is the highest honor a lawyer can receive. This award is for lawyers that have “provided exceptional and distinguished service to the law and the legal profession.” 

These are only a few of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s shining achievements. This woman spent decades of her life devoted to justice and equal rights. She was a lawyer, a judge, a mother, a wife, and a leader.  

Image courtesy of Jessica McWilliams

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