Ruth Bader Ginsberg: A Most Important Legacy


Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. ”

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an inspiration to all Americans. She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a leading advocate for women’s rights. She became a cultural symbol of a much younger generation. On September 18, 2020, she passed away at the age of 87.. 

    Living in a world predominantly run by men,  it could be hard to have a voice. Yet Ruth Bader Ginsburg found a way to succeed. After graduating high school, she went to Cornell University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 1954. After graduating from Cornell, she took a break from school and started her family. She then enrolled in Harvard Law.

    As one of the few women attending the school, she faced gender-based discrimination from everyone. She was chastised for taking a man’s spot at Harvard Law. That didn’t stop her from achieving her dreams when she became the first female member of the Harvard Law Review. She then moved to New York City to accept a job.  She transferred to Columbia Law School where she would join the Law Review and graduate first in her class in 1959. 

     Upon graduation, because she was a woman, she couldn’t find a job.  Finally, she became a professor at Rutgers University Law School in 1963 and then accepted an offer to teach at Columbia in 1972.  

   In the 1970s, while she was teaching, she created an organization called the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She fought for gender equality for both sexes. The Woman’s Rights Project fought against pregnancy and parenting discrimination, violence against women, and for rights in the workplace, education, and criminal justice.

Some of the key cases Ginsburg brought to the Supreme Court include: 

 Frontiero v. Richardson, the United States which decided that benefits given by the United States military to the family of service members cannot be given out differently because of gender. 

 Weinberger v. Weinberger, This case overturned  gender-based distinction mandated by the provisions of the Social Security Act, granting survivors’ benefits based on the earnings of a deceased husband.

Duren v. Missouri was a United States Supreme Court case related to the Sixth Amendment. It challenged Missouri’s law allowing gender-based exemption from jury service.

     Jimmy Carter’s appointed Ms. Ginsberg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980, where she served for thirteen years until 1993 when Bill Clinton appointed her to the United States Supreme Court. 

   In one of her most important cases on the bench, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, she broke with tradition and read her dissent from the bench. She called for Congress to undo this improper interpretation of the law and then worked with President Obama to pass the very first piece of legislation he signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. a copy of which hangs proudly in her office.

  As she served in the Supreme Court, she worked on gender equality, reproductive rights, and getting people the justice they deserved.