“The Notorious RBG,” Rest in Peace

Vedika Vinayak, Writer/Editor

“A meaningful life is when one lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.” -RBG

On August 10, 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was inducted into the Supreme Court, becoming the second ever, female Supreme Court Justice. This was not her first achievement, nor would it be her last.

A Short Background 

Needless to say, if I had to list every accomplishment of RBG, this paragraph itself would go on for a couple of pages! However, I have tried to include as many of her impacts as possible (please visit the link above to learn more). 

Born in 1933, as Ruth Joan Bader, RBG was the second daughter in a low-income, Jewish family living in Brooklyn, New York; she learnt the importance of education and dedication from a young age, and grew up with those values surrounding her.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg vacationing in Egypt with her husband and 2 children (Dennis Cook)

Ruth Bader married her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, in 1954; she graduated Cornell University that same year. Both of them went on to pursue law at Harvard University.

Law School and motherhood. Not only did Ginsburg excel at both, but she also became the first female member of the Harvard Law Review .* Unfortunately, Martin Ginsburg developed cancer in 1956. But that challenge, like all other challenges thrown at RBG, did not slow her down; she took care of her husband and daughter, all while attending lectures and taking notes for both her and her husband. Soon after Martin recovered, Ruth Bader transferred to Columbia Law School in New York City. In 1959, she graduated at the top of her class. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Harvard Law Class, where she was one of nine women to be accepted into the program. (Makers Woman)

Even though Ginsburg had many achievements on her resume and a stellar academic record, she still faced gender discrimination when seeking a job. This is why it is all the more impressive that she was the first, female, tenured professor at Columbia Law School. 

Being one of the strongest advocates for women’s rights and equality, it comes as no surprise that RBG co founded the “Women’s Rights Project” of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the 1970s. She would come to argue over 300 gender discrimination cases – six of which were brought before the Supreme Court. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg accepting her Supreme Court nomination with President Bill Clinton at her side. (Sharon Farmer)

Recognizing her intellect and political skill, President Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Supreme Court Justice. She was confirmed, 96-3, and sworn in, becoming the second, female Supreme Court Justice. 

RBG’s Legacy

Famous not only for her “dissent collar” but also her progressive views that won women their rights, RBG paved the way to a world without discrimination or prejudices. Her court cases and rulings earned praise and she became widely known as a trailblazing feminist, leading to the moniker, “The Notorious RBG.” Ginsburg served as a moderate-liberal on the Supreme Court, often setting precedents for a more progressive future. Ruling in favor of progressive stances such as pro-choice arguments, LGBTQ+ legalization, and men’s equality (such as extended parental leave), RBG advanced these ideals and sealed them into the law. She played a large role in giving women the right to inherit, own, and sell land and wealth; additionally, if it was not for RBG, there would not be equal benefits for families, nor would there be gender equality in the workplace. After being repeatedly told that law was not a place for women, Ginsburg’s fight for equality had an immense impact in the breaking down of gender stereotypes and double standards.

(Washington Post)

On September 18, 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. She will forever be respected as a champion for what is right and remembered as a voice for those without one. “The Notorious RBG,” thank you for everything.