Widely revered to as the Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an unapologetic feminist, a widely loved liberal icon, and the oldest of the nine US Supreme Court judges passed away on Friday, after a challenging battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 87 and the first Jewish woman to serve the Supreme Court.
"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." - RBG
Her sad demise is a catastrophic loss for feminists, who exclaimed her as their modern-day icon. Born in Brooklyn, she lost her mother in her days of high school. After studying from Harvard, she was transferred to the Columbia Law School and also served a brief stint there as a professor.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings in Washington, Jul 21, 1993. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
As an eminent jurist, she was serving as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of USA since 1993 when she was nominated by the then US President Bill Clinton till her last day in September 2020. She became one of the nation’s foremost advocates against gender discrimination, even before she had been nominated as a judge. In her legal career, she won multiple arguments in the Supreme Court regarding women’s rights and their advancement at the workplace. Interestingly, the previous year on her birthday, her admirers celebrated the day by dropping to the ground and grinding out the Super Diva’s signature push-ups on the steps of the courthouses around the country. Such was her fan following.
She will be remembered for authoring the court’s decision against the VMI’s male-only admissions policy. When President Barack Obama enacted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2008 which made it easier for employees to win pay discrimination claims, Ginsburg was credited for extending the motivational hand to inspire the law.
While expressing her views about abortion rights and the concerned legislation, Ginsburg made it clear that the state had no business making that choice for a woman. Though she consistently supported abortion rights and was highly critical of the role of the government in it. Ruth also criticized the state for making stringent laws of search and seizure and wanted the government to lay out the norms and procedures of such activities as far as women are concerned.
She often used to refer to international law for interpretations, an act which her conservative colleagues condemned. In her 27 years at the Supreme Court of USA, she made her mark on American history. Being an icon for many women, she believed that women should be able to lead flourishing lives according to their will, and anything that the society does to make it harder for women is immoral, unethical, and unconstitutional.
Ginsburg passed away due to pancreatic cancer on September 18, 2020, at age 87. Apart from being named in the Forbes' 100 most powerful women (2009), Ginsburg was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the Williamette University (2009), Harvard (2011), and Princeton (2010).
Apart from being regarded as a ‘pop culture’ icon, she will always be remembered as someone who aced the issues of discrimination, particularly against women, and will be forever revered as a ‘Razor-sharp legal eagle.’
By Dhritiman Barman
Dhritiman is a penultimate year BA Political Science student at Hindu College and a General Body member at The Symposium Society. He enjoys talking about public policies and international relations. Music and cricket aficionado.