Remembering RBG

Elizabeth Nestor, Staff writer

2020 has been a year that could become its own history book. It has felt like taking punches one after another.

No one even remembers that it is a leap year. As if this year could not get any more grim, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently died of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

No matter how heavy this news comes, it is of great importance that people remember her legacy and her fight.

One may disagree with some of her policies, but it is undeniable how significant she was for gaining human rights on the basis of sex. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, more commonly known as RBG, was born into a low-income Jewish family in 1933.

Throughout her youth, RBG was heavily influenced by her mother, Cecilia, who taught her the importance of fighting against society’s bias toward women. Cecilia was a selfless warrior who died of cancer the day before Ginsburg graduated high school.

Ginsburg then went on to attend Harvard Law School in an environment that was male dominated and quite hostile. She was one of eight women amongst her class of 500. After transferring and graduating from Columbia Law School, she navigated many careers.

It was difficult for her to land a stable job because not only was she a woman, but because she was also a mother. Throughout the 70s, Ginsburg acted as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

During this time, she argued six landmark cases based on gender equality in front of the Supreme Court.

Of the five that she won, some of the most remarkable cases include Frontiero v. Richardson where she argued the equality of military benefits and Weinberger v. Weisenfeld regarding social security benefits. Despite the hardships that Ginsburg faced, she remained diligent and determined to bring justice to the oppressed. She was appointed to the Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. by former President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

It was not until 1993 that she was chosen to fill the seat of late Justice Byron White on the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. She was the second female justice and the first Jewish female justice.

When deciding the fate of the 2000 election, Ginsburg proudly objected the majority opinion with her concluding statement, “I dissent.” This was revolutionary as she broke the tradition of softening and minimizing her voice by saying “respectfully.”

She was a stronghold for equality on the high court for 27 years. After only eight days since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, President Trump announced his nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

It is reported that Ginsburg’s dying wish was that she not be replaced until after a new president is elected. If Barrett fills her seat, the Supreme Court would be a strongly conservative body with a 6-3 conservative majority.

It is important, now more than ever, that people vote in the 2020 presidential election, because regardless of who you favor on the Supreme Court, Justices are nominated for life.

As information is more readily accessible than ever before, it is crucial that people educate themselves on what is at stake.