I recently had the honor of writing an article to honor our hero, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The article is in DRI’s The Voice from September 23, 2020. I hope you enjoy it:
Today We Mourn, Tomorrow We Fight
This has been the motto seen throughout social media the last week – “Today We Mourn, Tomorrow We Fight”. As with the passing of John Lewis, the country lost a fighter with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but that does not mean the fight must leave the country. Justice Ginsburg fought for the rights of every person in this country and the best way to honor her work is to keep it going.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, better known as the Notorious RBG, was the embodiment of feminism and equal rights for women. If it were not for Justice Ginsburg there would not be a Women in the Law Committee within DRI and I would not be writing this article. Every woman in this country, regardless of party affiliation, owes Justice Ginsburg thanks every time she uses a credit card in her own name, leases or purchases property, consents to her own medical treatment, plays sports in school or moves up the ladder at work. Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the women’s movement from the streets into the courtroom and made this country a better place for every woman.
A statement commonly quoted from Justice Ginsburg, which embodies why she was so successful, is – “Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Others did join in her fight and that is why, because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, more and more woman are in places where decisions are made. Because when Ruth Bader Ginsburg set out to fix a wrong, nothing stopped her until it was fixed.
No other Supreme Court Justice has made such an immense impact on this country. Justice Ginsburg inspired multiple movies, countless books, t-shirts, signs, mugs, jewelry and even face masks. To understand what Ruth Bader Ginsberg means to the women of this country, you just need to look at social media or watch the news. There is an outpouring of love, respect and deep felt mourning. One such well written tribute is:
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used her considerable talents to fight for equal protection under the law for all, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual identity, disability, or national origin. America has lost a jurist with a conscience, true consistent convictions, civility, a sense of humor and a love of the law. America has lost a lodestar. I, along with so many who admired and respected RBG, am truly devastated by her passing. May she rest in peace.” – Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor
Justice Ginsburg was the second female Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. As a young lawyer, she applied for a clerkship with the U.S. Supreme Court but was denied the position because Justice Felix Frankfurter was not comfortable with a woman in chambers. She corrected that problem by fighting for women’s rights as a lawyer with the ACLU and in 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court. About her own life’s legacy she said, “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her incredible wisdom can never be forgotten because her opinions and dissents remained ingrained in history. “Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
So as you move forward in your legal career – do what RBG would do.