RUTH BADER GINSBURG
A tribute to a true champion of justice and equality for women, thus for all.
"I ask no favor for my sex," she gravely intones. "All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” – Sarah Grimké, (July 17, 1837). – Quoted by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
We live our lives so that our actions make a difference, so that we make the world better that we lived. Never was there a more learned, honorable, courageous, and spirited fighter for justice, equality, and human rights, than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is quoted as saying that “leading a meaningful life means living for one’s family and one’s community, not for oneself.”
Women and people of color have endured abuse, neglect, disrespect, and discrimination throughout the history of the USA. Excluded from education, housing, financial rights and voting, these major groups have been treated as “lesser” by men in power. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made…it should not be that they are excluded,” said Ginsburg. One must say the same about people of color.
After graduating at the top of her class from Columbia Law School, New York law firms would not hire Ruth Ginsburg, openly stating that it was because she was a woman. “I became a lawyer when women were not wanted by the legal profession,” she said. She then taught law at Rutgers. During that tenure, Ginsburg argued a ground-breaking case of male-female pay inequity before the U.S. Supreme Court, (on which she would one day serve.) Everyone but her confident husband thought the case was impossible to win. Ginsburg was nervous, understandably, but undeterred.
During this first Supreme Court case, when one of the male justices famously said, “The word ‘woman’ is not in our Constitution,” Ginsburg quickly replied, “Neither is the word “freedom.” She won the case, against all odds, a decision that set precedents and solid law in America for equal pay for men and women. Later she relayed, “I did see myself as kind of a kindergarten teacher in those days, because the judges didn’t think sex discrimination existed.” This scene is portrayed in the excellent movie about Ruth’s life, “On the Basis of Sex.”
During her over twenty seven year tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg set laws in place that made it possible for young women and sports teams in public schools to receive equal athletic funding as that given to men. Justice Kavanaugh writes: Justice Ginsburg paved the way for women to become lawyers and judges. She made it possible for women and girls like my daughters to compete on equal footing as student-athletes.
Here are exceptional excerpts from her colleagues on the Supreme Court:
Chief Justice, John Roberts: "Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her -- a tireless and resolute champion of justice."
Justice Stephen Breyer: "I heard of Ruth’s death while I was reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish at the Rosh Hashanah service. I thought: a great Justice; a woman of valor; a rock of righteousness; and my good, good friend. The world is a better place for her having lived in it. And so is her family; her friends; the legal community; and the nation."
Justice Samuel A. Alito: Justice Ginsburg will go down as a leading figure in the history of the Court. She will be remembered for her intelligence, learning, and remarkable fortitude.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor: "My dear friend and colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American hero. She spent her life fighting for the equality of all people, and she was a pathbreaking champion of women’s rights. She served our Court and country with consummate dedication, tirelessness, and passion for justice. She has left a legacy few could rival.
Justice Elena Kagan: "To me, as to countless others, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a hero. As an attorney, she led the fight to grant women equal rights under the law. As a judge, she did justice every day--working to ensure that this country's legal system lives up to its ideals and extends its rights and protections to those once excluded.
Justice Neil M. Gorsuch: For forty years, Ruth served the American people as one of our most distinguished judges. Her sacrifices for the country were many, but always performed with honor.
Justice Brent Kavanaugh: No American has ever done more than Justice Ginsburg to ensure equal justice under law for women. She was a cherished colleague, and she inspired me, and all of us, with her unparalleled work ethic and devotion to the law.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: By her learning she taught devotion to the law. By her dignity she taught respect for others and her love for America. By her reverence for the Constitution, she taught us to preserve it to secure our freedom.
One need only view the powerful online documentary (RBG) and the film drama “On the Basis of Sex” about her fight for Equal Rights for Men and Women. Ginsburg instigated laws that protected women when they were paid unfairly, unable to have credit or get an independent mortgage, or to keep her job while pregnant. Women finally had the law behind them to stand up to injustice in the workplace. She championed a woman’s right to freedom over her body and of reproductive choice.
When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court Justice (1933-2020)
Ruth made trouble, “Good Trouble.” We extend to Ruth Ginsburg our deep gratitude for her intellect, education, determination, and especially her strong and eloquent stand for equal justice for all women. Against fiery opposition, she fought for causes that others would not and triumphed where others would fail. She changed US laws that opened and embraced the rights of those, who in the past (and still,) are abused, held down, and disenfranchised. Yes, liberal. And God bless her for it.
Evidenced by her egalitarian philosophy and natural friendliness, she befriended two staunch conservative members of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia and Brent Kavanaugh. Her solid relationship with conservative Anton Scalia led to their mutual love of and attendance to myriad operas, one of which was composed about and performed for them! Ginsburg spoke warmly about new Justice Kavanaugh, the controversial conservative justice with whom she developed a fondness. Equal rights to the end.
Our deepest condolences to her family- and to the USA. Young people, study Ruth Ginsburg’s cases, her causes, her decisions, her dissenting opinions. Ruth was brilliant, and remains so, because such a light is not diminished… ever. She literally is “on the books.” Young people, fight for freedom for all, especially the oppressed. They are the ones who need you.
Read the moving complete tributes to Ruth Bader Ginsburg from each Supreme Court Justice: https://www.yahoo.com/gma/current-former-justices-release-personal-190307408.html