Ruth Bader Ginsberg was small in stature but she became a giant in American History. She was a warrior on many fronts. She was the first Jewish woman to serve on the United States Supreme Count. She was also a champion of women’s rights.
She co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) before she was considered for the highest court in the land. She argued six and won five of her augments before the high court which earned her the reputation as a skilled oral advocate.
President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993 to fill the seat of retiring Justice Justice Bryon. During her long tenure she fought many bouts of cancer but ended up serving as one the longest Chief Justices of the Supreme Court.
When she got on the court she authored the courts option that struck down the long-standing male only admission policy to Virginia Military Institute (VMI). On the Abortion Rights case she said that the government had no business making those choices for a woman.
She became a “Pop Culture Icon” when Shana Kniznik, a Tumblr Blogger and law student teamed up with MSNBC reporter Irin Carmon to publish their book R.B.G. : The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Her and the rapper Biggie Smalls came from the Brooklyn Borough. He left his ‘messages in rap’ and she left her ‘messages is court decisions’. When Kate McKinnon of “Saturday Night Live” portrayed Ginsberg in her comedy sketches it increased her notoriety. The CNN documentary film titled “On the Basis of Sex” which was based on Ginsberg’s career struggles fighting for equal rights cemented her place in pop culture.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s court decisions were probably based on her unique life experience. Her older sister died when Ruth was a baby and her mother died right before Ginsberg graduated from high school. She earned her bachelors degree from Cornell University and was a married mother before starting Harvard Law School where she was one of a few in her class (there were only 9 women out of 500 men). She transferred to Columbia Law School where she was in the top of her class but couldn’t get a ‘legal position’ because she was a married, Jewish woman with a child.
Ruth persisted and was recognized for her efforts. In 2002 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2009 she was named one of The 100 Most Powerful Women, in 2012 Glamour Magazine awarded her Woman of the Year. In 2015, Times Magazine she was one of the 100 Most Influential People.
In 2009 Ginsberg received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Scribes – The American Society of Legal Writers. In 2019 Ginsberg was the recipient of the one million dollar Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, an award for the thinker whose ideas have helped us find direction , wisdom and improve self-understanding.
R.I.P. – R.B.G