Notorious: Remembering a giant of progressive justice

Graphic courtesy of the editing staff.

It is not often that generations of all ages come together to celebrate the elite status of one singular person, much less someone over the age of 80 and who wears a long black robe for their day job. Despite the initial image, this near rock star status has been given to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by countless Americans in recent years. The subject of two major films/documentaries and countless interviews, the “Notorious R.B.G.” was the senior-most member of the Supreme Court and had been taking charge consistently in favor of progressive social issues decided at the supreme court level. After surviving 5 occurrences and treatments of cancer, due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg passed away this past Friday at 87 years old.

RBG proved time and time again that she could not be held back from anything she set her mind to in life. Prior to accepting her position as a Supreme Court Justice, she was an advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union with an extreme focus on gender equality and protection in the workplace for all genders. In order to become a lawyer, RBG attended both Cornell and Columbia where she tied for first in her class. Practicing law in the 1960s as a woman was difficult, but it was a time that allowed her to bring change in America through progressive court cases fighting against personal, professional and social sexism in American at that time. In the 70s, she even fought 6 cases in front of the Supreme Court battling sexism and won five of those. Her unique tactic of fighting for equal rights between genders had not been seen before in the courts – by primarily taking cases where men were treated unfairly due to their gender, RBG was by creating a legal basis for women who had faced discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ (also the title of a recent film in which her early career in law was depicted). As one of only four women who have ever served as justices for the United States Supreme court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg set a fiery example of her dissenting opinions and dedication to the United States of America and her Constitution.

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

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

Beyond the coverage that will likely fill our newsfeeds for the next couple days of RBG’s ‘notorious’ and historical legacy, the issue of selecting a new supreme court justice will be shifted to the front burner as the election season heats up. With under 50 days until election day and ballots already in the mail for some states, the next supreme court pick will bring a larger shift to the demographics of the judicial branch of the US government. With a close republican majority in the Senate, each vote will be critical in the process for both sides and the results of the upcoming election could impact a shift towards more conservative or more progressive values for generations to come. Because supreme court justices are nominated for a life term, the ability to appoint even one in a four-year presidential term is politically advantageous, noting that President Trump has already appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. While Ruth Bader Ginsburg held her legacy proudly to the world for equality and human rights; the lasting impact of her death has the potential to shift the balance of the supreme court and could install a lasting legitimacy for the Trump presidency during one of the most tumultuous times in modern American history.

While the final weeks of the election loom before us, we cannot forget the amazing woman, judge and American our country has lost this weekend. We all will walk into the voting booth this upcoming November or mail our ballots into our home states and counties, but as we dictate the next four years of our nation, we should remember the our Notorious RBG and the equality she fought for.



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