Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies At The Age of 87

Courtney Volavka, Reporter

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020.

On September 18th, 2020the prominent Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer. She had been fighting this disease since July of 2020.  

Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg was born on March 15th, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. She was born into a low income, working class family. Her mother, Celia Bader, taught Ginsburg the value of independence and a good education.  

Ginsburg went to James Madison High School where she worked hard and excelled in her studies. Sadly, her mother died 2 days before her graduation in 1950. After her passing, however, Ginsburg continued foreword and graduated from Cornell University in 1954, finishing first in her class. During the same year she married Martin D. Ginsburg. Their first child, Jane, was born shortly after her husband was drafted into the military.  

After 2 years he was discharged and both Ginsburg and Martin went to Harvard. At Harvard, Ginsburg encountered a highly male-dominate, hostile environment, with only eight females in her class of 500. The women were scolded by the dean for taking the places of qualified men. Nevertheless, Ginsburg pressed on and excelled academically, eventually becoming the first female member of the prestigious legal journal, the Harvard Law Review. She graduated first in her class in 1959.  

Even with her notable academic record, Ginsburg continued to encounter gender discrimination while seeking employment after graduation. She eventually taught at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia University, where she became the school’s first female tenured professor. During the 1970s, she also served as the director of the women’s rights project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Ginsburg also argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg believed that the law was gender-blind and all groups were entitled to equal rights. In 1980, President Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  

She served there until she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 by President Clinton. Ginsburg became the court’s first Jewish female justice. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court’s pivotal decision in United States v. Virginia Military, which held that the state-supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. In 1999, she won the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.  

On June 25th, 2010, Martin Ginsburg died of cancer.  

Even after Martin passed, she continued forward and worked diligently. On June 25th, 2015, she was one of six justices to endorse a crucial component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, in King v. Burwell. The decision allowed the federal government to continue providing subsidies to Americans who purchase health care through “exchanges,” regardless of whether they are state or federally operated.  

On June 26th, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court passed yet another historic decision, with a 5-4 majority ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  

During January of 2018, after President Donald Trump released a list of U.S. Supreme Court candidates in preparation for the looming retirement of elderly justices, the 84-year-old was showing signs that she wasn’t going anywhere by hiring a full slate of clerks throughout 2020.  

In statements from politicians, former presidents, and the U.S. Supreme Court have mournfully said, “She will be missed very much.” 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg went through many obstacles in her life―from living in a low-income household, to facing discrimination against being a woman. Be that as it may, she still pressed on, was top of her classes in all studies and graduated academically highest as well. She even became the first Jewish-female justice in the Supreme Court. She fought till the end for gender equality and equal rights. Even as she has passed, her memory and influence will still live on.