Written By Milee Jain (Grade 8)
A diminutive 5 feet tall yet supremely influential and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights – Ruth Ginsberg. Associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 to 2020. She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been nicknamed “Notorious RBG” for her caustic contentions and her predilection for asking tough questions in a court that can tilt toward conservative decisions.
This hugely inspirational supreme court justice passed away of pancreatic complications on Friday in Washington.
Her stimulating qualities have encouraged and motivated women all around the world. I for one, a 13-year-old girl who sits miles and oceans apart from where Ruth Ginsberg ruled, her story and her life is nothing short of a modern-day fairy tale. Today’s fairy tales do not revolve around princesses and princes, rather it makes for a resilient strong woman warrior who fought for gender parity not only for herself but for all the generations to come.
She was Relentless.
A mom of two, an opera lover and an intellectual who watched arguments behind her oversized glasses for many years. She faced many difficulties and hardships including her health crisis, the loss of her mother at a young age, and the discouragement she encountered early in her career. Her mother, Celia, was her biggest inspiration. Celia, despite having a tremendous intellect, worked in a garment factory because her education had been cut short. She had high hopes for her daughter. The injustice between her mother’s potential and prospects annoyed Ruth. This may have been an impetus for the conspicuous focus of Ginsburg’s legal career: she spent the rest of her life working to make sure that intelligent women like her mother would no longer be held back from their full potential on account of their gender.
She was strategic.
RBG goes on to weave a tapestry of legal cases, very often appearing before an all-male Supreme Court that doesn’t seem to realize that discrimination against women exists. She tactfully handpicks cases and was strategic in life. To give an example, when she got phone calls from her son’s school as he was having problems, she asked them alternate calls to the “other parent” – her husband and this deliberate switching of gender roles is signature RBG.
She was powerful.
Through a series of strategic and brilliantly argued cases that she brought before the courts as a lawyer, she dragged the law into recognizing women’s rights by the sheer force of her intellect and will.
Ginsburg is the rare supreme court justice whose most significant work was done before she joined the court. She changed the course of American law not as a supreme court justice, but as a lawyer, the founder and general counsel of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.
Sometimes referred to as “the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law,” Ginsburg argued six cases before the court on which she would one day sit, triumphing five. Also, as a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg wrote the opinion striking down the men-only admissions policy of the Virginia Military Academy. Ginsburg spent her last years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing.
She was unstoppable.
She ignored calls by left wings to retire during Barack Obama’s presidency at a time when Democrats were in power. She didn’t want to stop working until her very last day. She brought the Supreme Court the perspective of women’s rights and devoted her whole career to bridging the gender divide.
She was a fighter.
In January 2020, Ginsburg—who had been battling pancreatic cancer since 2019 announced that she was officially cancer-free, but several months later cancer returned. It wasn’t RBG’s first battle with the disease: In 1999, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, which required surgery and many therapies and treatments. Yet she overcame all these obstacles without missing a day on the bench. In the face of adversity, she always displayed resilience.
RBG’s demise almost six weeks before Election Day is probably to set off a heated battle over whether or not President Donald Trump must nominate a right-wing thinker in her replacement or if the seat ought to stay vacant till the effect of his race in opposition to Democrat Joe Biden is known.
Ruth Ginsberg is kind of a Rockstar for the millennial generation. The more I read up about her, the more in awe I am. Her persona has launched innumerable memes, her legendary works inspire books and articles. Her words are quoted on T-shirts and tote bags. She famously said ‘”Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
I can almost see this tiny, 85-year-old jurist, mother and cancer survivor eyeing the courtroom and quietly but firmly saying, “I dissent.”
Featured Image Courtesy – CNN Politics