Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve in The U.S. Supreme Court, passed away Friday at 87 years old due to metastatic pancreatic cancer.
In an NPR article, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "Our nation has lost a justice 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."
Nominated by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg was relentless in her advocacy for gender equality and women’s rights, although her strong convictions were established long before her time seated as a member of the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg began her legal career in the 60s, but not without difficulty. She was denied employment on multiple occasions because of her gender.
In 1963, Ginsburg became a professor at Rutgers Law School, a time when there were less than 20 female law professors in the country. She was told she would be paid less than her male colleagues because her husband “had a very good job,” according to a New York Times article.
Despite the setbacks, she continued to pursue her career and make history in the process.
In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which participated in more than 300 gender discrimination cases by the time 1974 rolled around.
As the director of the groundbreaking project, Ginsburg argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court, winning five of them, convincing the bench it was a violation of the equal protection clause in the Constitution.
She also chose to represent men in a court of law to demonstrate that gender discrimination affects men as well. Instead of aiming to end gender discrimination all at once, Ginsburg strategically targeted specific statutes and built upon each success.
Many have praised the historical victories Ginsburg accomplished during her lifetime.
Texas Sen. John Coryn tweeted, “Her unwavering commitment to public service has inspired a generation of young Americans – particularly women – to reach for their dreams."
Her unwavering commitment to public service has inspired a generation of young Americans – particularly women – to reach for their dreams.— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 19, 2020
As our country mourns this loss, Sandy and I send our condolences to her children, Jane and James, and the entire Ginsburg family.
One New York author described her as a “pop culture feminist icon” and “a comic book super hero.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said, “A truly exceptional woman has left us. Throughout her entire life, Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for justice, gender equality and the respect for fundamental rights. Her outstanding legacy shall be our inspiration for a long time to come."
A truly exceptional woman has left us. Throughout her entire life, Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for justice, gender equality and the respect for fundamental rights. Her outstanding legacy shall be our inspiration for a long time to come. pic.twitter.com/Ew71QAjk9O— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 19, 2020
Although the “who” and “when” of Ginsburg’s vacant seat is being hotly debated, her legacy will continue to live on.