Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Her Lasting Impact


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Photo courtesy of the Supreme Court of the United States)

Isabella Truong and Gillian Bui

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an active feminist and the second female Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, died at the age of 87 in her Washington home on Sept. 18. Her abrupt death was due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court told reporters. 

   According to the New York Times, Justice Ginsburg was diagnosed with two tumors in her lungs as of 2018, and prior to this, beat both colon cancer and early stages of pancreatic cancer. In 2014, she was treated for broken ribs and also received a coronary stent to clear a blocked artery. 

   Although she is known for her fragile appearance, only being five-feet tall and barely 100 pounds, she continued to work with a trainer regularly. RBG passed her 80th birthday and 20th anniversary on the Supreme Court bench during President Barack Obama’s second term, and was repeatedly advised to retire. 

   She ignored these suggestions, and instead continued to fight for what she believed in. She stated in a 2013 interview with the press that her plan was to stay “as long as I can do the job full steam,” and added, “There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president” according to the New York Times. 

   Mrs. Rojas, the AP Human Geography teacher here at West Ranch, discussed what the empowering judge means to her. RBG is a role model not only because she had a dream for her life and worked hard to fulfill that dream, but that she really represents someone who was able to respect others with differing opinions,” she said. “As a judge, she had to work side by side with others who did not think the same way she did. She did not harbor any resentment or anger towards them.” 


Her Impact & Achievements

   After Ginsburg graduated first in her class from Cornell University, she went to Harvard Law School while mothering two children. She and the only other seven females in her entire graduating class received harsh criticism from the dean that they were taking the spots of more qualified males. Ginsburg pushed forward and became the first female member of the distinguished “Harvard Law Review.”

   She also taught at Columbia Law School, where she became their first female tenured professor, reported the American Civil Liberties Union. Despite her academic excellence, Ginsburg faced gender discrimination throughout her whole career as a clerk and a professor.

   Ginsburg is well known for siding with conservatives and pleasing both her supporters and skeptics. In her own words, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” She challenged the way society viewed stereotypical gender roles, for both women and men. 

   In 1993 , Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. She became the first Jewish woman and the second woman to serve on the Court. President Clinton favored her intellect and political skills. When faced with criticism for his decision, he said in an interview with the press, “She will be able to be a force for consensus building on the Supreme Court.”

  One example of her strive for equality was when she was working at the ACLU. Much of her clientele were men fighting against gender stereotypes. In the Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld case, a New Jersey man’s wife died during childbirth and he wanted to work less to stay home and care for his son. It was discovered that only widows, not widowers, were eligible for Social Security payments. Ruth Ginsburg went to court on his behalf and argued that the law perpetuates the stereotype assumptions of typical women and men’s roles in society, and that these discriminatory laws were unconstitutional, according to the ACLU. 

   Mrs. Preach, the Honors Geometry and Algebra teacher at West Ranch, added, “Females, especially, should look up to her as a role model because her legacy is in her resilience, both in her career and in her personal life. I believe that RBG has taught us to believe in ourselves, use our voices and make significant contributions to society to promote justice.” 

   Ruth Bader Ginsburg had the intellect of no other, and used this to her advantage throughout her career in law and the government. The feminist icon inspired many to fight against injustices and to speak their mind no matter who opposes them. 

   “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception,” stated RBG herself.