On March 15, 1933, the world was very fortunate to welcome Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sadly, on September 18, 2020, the world would meet misfortune in losing this wonderful crusader for women’s rights and social equality. Between the two dates mentioned, Ginsburg would become an incredible champion for change, especially on the Supreme Court. The Allegiant Experts team is greatly saddened by her loss.
Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn, New York.
Beginning in 1954, she studied law at Cornell University, Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School. Let it be known that we don’t simply refer to her academic career lightly. While attending Harvard Law School, Ginsburg was one of only seven women in her class of over 500 students.
She even endured the derision of the dean who felt female students didn’t deserve the opportunities generally granted to qualified males. All the while, she was masterfully performing her roles as loving wife to Martin David Ginsburg (especially during his battle with cancer) and mother to Jane and James.
Ginsburg would officially begin her career in law in 1959.
She worked as a law clerk to a US District Court judge in the Southern District of New York. Within four years, she became a professor at Rutgers University School of Law and eventually became the first woman ever to be hired with tenure at Columbia University School of Law. This achievement was one of the first that made evident that Ginsburg was a trailblazer.
Never content to simply accumulate personal accolades, she worked tirelessly as an advocate of women’s rights and racial equality. In 1993, after a nomination from then-U.S. president Bill Clinton, she was sworn in as Supreme Court justice, filling the seat formerly held by Justice Byron White. Ginsburg was only the second woman ever to fill that role. She regularly made clear that she disliked being the only woman on the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg’s pro-quality attitude gained her the nickname, “Notorious RBG”.
It’s an ode to her fellow-Brooklynite, Christopher Wallace, who was professionally known as world famous rapper, The Notorious B.I.G. However, Ginsburg’s moniker was earned due to her fierce insistence on defending women’s reproductive freedoms and gay marriage in several different cases. As well, RBG staunchly defended affirmative action, pointing out in numerous interviews that she and many other women had greatly benefited from the policy.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be remembered as a champion of equality,” writes history and law professor, Tomiko Brown-Nagin for The Harvard Gazette, “Well before she ascended to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had left an indelible mark on law and society. At the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, she was the chief architect of a campaign against sex-role stereotyping in the law, arguing and winning five landmark Supreme Court cases during the 1970s.”
“These decisions established the principle of equal treatment in the law for women as well as men and banished numerous laws that treated men and women differently based on archaic gender stereotypes,” Brown-Nagin details, “Her achievements as a litigator made her, as many have said, the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s rights movement.”
Even with this humble tribute, we can’t even begin to highlight the massive and indelible mark Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left on our world. A fearless, resilient and brilliant champion for justice and equality, Ginsburg’s shoes will never be adequately filled. She will truly be missed.