The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, has left us all reeling. She was a giant, advancing gender equality and civil liberties by leaps and bounds through an inspiring life and career.
Joan Ruth Bader, known to us as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Notorious RBG, was born in Brooklyn in 1933. She was one of 9 women enrolled in a class of 500 people at Harvard Law School, eventually transferring and completing her law degree at Columbia Law School. During her academic career, Justice Ginsburg became the first woman to serve on two major law reviews: the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review.
Despite initial trouble finding employment after graduating from law school due to discrimination based on her gender, marital status and fact that she was a mother, she went on the clerk for a federal judge, serve as associate director of the Columbia Law School Project, teach as a professor at Rutgers Law School, and serve as a volunteer attorney at the ACLU, co-founding the Women’s Rights Project there. During this time, she made significant legal advances for women under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
She was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter and then to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She became the second woman to serve on the highest court in the United States, and served the court and our country for 27 years. She became the most well known member of that court, issuing searing dissents to persuade future courts on decisions related to women’s rights and civil rights. Some notable dissents include Ledbetter v. Goodyear, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and in 2013 when the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
She fought to serve her country valiantly until the end, despite anything she was enduring personally. She faced five bouts of cancer and lost her beloved husband Marty in 2010. Her dying wish was to wait to fill her seat until a new president is inaugurated.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The civil liberties Justice Ginsburg fought so hard for are under attack, and at risk of being rolled back if Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell appoint a conservative justice to the Supreme Court to replace her. Those civil liberties include reproductive freedom and abortion rights, civil rights laws, access to healthcare and consumer protections.
The best way to honor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and memory is to elect Democrats to elected office up and down the ballot across the nation this November. Like AOC said, we are not going back to brunch, we are going to do the work. Between now and election day, we are going to phone bank and text bank after work and on weekends, and we are going to talk to our friends and family to make sure they are registered to vote and have a voting plan. We will vote but we will also activate others to get out the vote, too.
We are only 43 days away from the 2020 general election, and the American people should have their say in who the next President will be to appoint her replacement and who the Senators will be to vote to confirm the appointment.
Our Club has a multitude of political engagement events until the election for you to take action. See the events listed below or bookmark uniteddemsevents.org to visit at anytime.
May her memory be a blessing — and spur us into action, as well.