By Jaclyn Lupo
Sadly, on September 18, 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg united with the stars. Her passing leaves America in a state of deep grief as we mourn the loss of this amazing woman.
Justice Ginsburg leaves behind a powerful legacy that will never be forgotten. She was a champion for women’s rights. She was an advocate for equality and she used her voice to speak for minority groups that were often ignored. Ginsburg was only the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme court, and she will always be remembered for her courage. As a feminist icon, Ruth taught women that they are capable of absolutely anything. She was unafraid to use her voice, seen through her willingness to fight for justice.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Ginsburg led her life intending to initiate positive change. She was more than just successful. In 1959, she ranked number one in her Columbian Law School graduating class. Unfortunately, due to her gender, Ruth found it difficult to find a law firm that would accept her. However, no matter who tried to stand in her way, she was unstoppable.
In 1972 she aided the launch of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Woman’s Rights Project. Her efforts helped society recognize women as worthy and important. Notably, she explained, “Woman’s rights are an essential part of the overall human rights agendas, trained on the equal dignity and ability to live in freedom all people should enjoy”. To her, equality was worth everything. She wanted everybody to have equal opportunities, and to be treated fairly. She went on to win five out of six sex-discrimination cases she argued before the supreme court, confirming her commitment to justice. It’s no wonder she would find herself as a judge in the years that followed.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to fill a vacated seat. She used the power of the law to bring comfort to those less fortunate by standing up for their rights in the name of the constitution. She put the law first, revealed by the fact she always kept a “pocket-constitution” on hand. She understood that the constitution intended to take care of all Americans, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
She is known for the phrase “I dissent”, meaning that she frequently spoke out against the majority to seek justice. She boldly expressed her opinions. She spoke to protect women’s freedoms, prioritizing their safety and wellbeing. In the Gonzales vs. Carhart case, she expressed that it would be unconstitutional to deny a woman’s choice to have an abortion in any capacity. She used her voice to ensure people would be paid fairly and rightfully treated. She ensured that nobody would be taken advantage of. In the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. case, she bravely shared her dissent from the bench, arguing that Lily Ledbetter should not be discredited because of the fact she is a female. She was a woman for the people and she heavily influenced the Supreme Court to make sure they prioritized every American, not just the powerful. She was a brave spokeswoman for all.
Most importantly, she advised us to “Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that you will lead others to join you” and we cannot let her down. For Ruth, we must continue to advocate for equality in a way that encourages positive change. She paved a beautiful path towards a better future, and it is now in our hands to demand for justice. However, it’s quite clear there is still so much more we can do to ensure her legacy is carried for generations. For Ruth, we need to commit ourselves to the fight for equality. It is our duty to use our voices to stand up for women’s rights. Ruth confirms that it is possible to bravely defend our beliefs. Let’s follow her lead, and make this world a better place.
Jaclyn Lupo is an editorial writer passionate about fashion, sustainability and culture.