All Rise for the Honorable Judge RBG


Sally Brown

The Notorious RBG left behind a legacy of Justice and Activism

Sally Brown, Content Editor

The second Female Justice on The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) passed away on September 18th, 2020. Throughout her life, she became unanimous with feminist activism and fighting for equality, especially during her time as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Due to her extensive legal career, she was nominated to the SCOTUS by Bill Clinton in 1993 and would become the first Jewish woman to serve as a U.S. Justice. From this position, she ruled on many landmark cases. For example, her role in Roe v. Wade. The decision made in the U.S. v. Virginia determined that state-supported and funded military academies could not refuse female applicants.


The Precedents that Built Her

Born in 1933, Justice Ginsburg was taught by her mother to value education and how to be a true “lady.” Though not in the traditional and archaic sense. “My mother” Ginsburg stated, “told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your person, be independent”. She took this with her throughout her school career. Sorrowfully, Cecilia Bader, her mother, would never be able to witness her daughter’s greatest accomplishments for she died the day before Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s High School Graduation. Following High School, she attended Cornell University for graduate school. There she met “the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain,” her future husband, Martin Ginsburg. Two years after he was drafted for the military, they would attend the prestigious Harvard Law School while raising their young daughter. While there she was met with hostility from the male-dominated school. The dean was once reported saying that the eight women of the class of 500 students were taking the place of qualified males. Though this would not dissuade Ruth Bader Ginsburg who would become a member of the Harvard Law Review. Though due to family reasons, she had to complete her studies at Columbia Law where she would graduate first in her class in 1959.


The Queen of the Court Room

The “Notorious RBG” would use her legal expertise to argue several landmark cases in front of the Supreme Court as an attorney for the ACLU. Many of her cases relied upon the Civil Rights Amendment. Such as, Reed v. Reed in which an Idaho Statute discriminated against women in favor of men. In a unanimous decision, the court agreed. She even took bold steps to argue, that gender discrimination hurts men too, before the Supreme Court. From this case, Frontiero v. Richardson (1973), the court concluded that the court should use a strict standard of judicial scrutiny when reviewing discriminatory laws based on sex.


In 1993, she would continue her work as a Supreme Court Justice alongside the first female Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. From the bench, she argued for equal pay and encouraged the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which amended the limitations placed on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


The Notorious RBG

Her legacy as a feminist icon and legal scholar will live on in the millions of young girls, briefcase in hand, dreaming of following a similar path as well as the whole nation and world. Though, even in death, she made history. In the week following her death, she will be the second woman, first being Rosa Parks, to lie in the state capital and available to public viewing.


The future of the bench hangs in the balance. Some demand that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is replaced by a woman. Some would argue that President Donald Trump delivered this through his nomination of Amy Coney Barret. If confirmed she would become the third woman to sit on the Supreme Court and continue the Notorious RBG’s legacy of female leadership.