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The news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing on Friday completely shocked me. As soon as I heard of it, my entire body went numb. She was someone I have looked up to and will continue to look up to. As I continue to process the news, I have been thinking of a few ways to keep her legacy alive for my generation and those to come. While many know how influential RBG was, not everyone knows her story. I’d like to guide you through her life as a means of honoring her:


The daughter of a Jewish immigrant. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. One of nine women in a class of 500 in law school. Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon--Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


RBG’s life was dedicated to justly serving the public. As an undergrad student at Cornell, she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in government. During these years she met her future husband, Marty Ginsburg. He lost his battle to cancer in 2010, but their partnership was endearing. They both supported each other through everything. Their eldest daughter, Jane Ginsburg, said that “He was the biggest supporter. My mother always said at Cornell, he was the only boy who cared that she had a brain” (CBSNEWS.COM). When Marty was diagnosed with cancer during his time at Harvard, RBG took notes for him so that he wouldn’t fall behind. Truly they had a balanced marriage built on respect.


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After graduating top of her class from Cornell in 1954, she got married the same year, had her daughter in 1955, and began her law education at Harvard Law School the year after. Marty graduated from Harvard Law and took a job at a firm in New York City, so Ginsburg then transferred to Columbia Law School. Her relentless work ethic brought her to graduate top of her class, but this wasn’t considered worthy of any employers since no one would hire her.


This was 1959. Employers weren’t looking to hire women, especially those with a toddler. However, this is RBG we’re talking about. She didn’t take no for an answer, so she persevered despite this unfortunate situation. She became a law professor at Rutgers University where she further discovered her passion for women’s rights and the law. 


Finally, she was hired for the non-profit organization the American Civil Liberties Union. Of course, she stood out immediately and quickly founded the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. Ginsburg took six gender discrimination cases to the Supreme Court and won five of them. This was exceptionally difficult since she presented these cases to white, male justices.


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Former President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in 1980. She served on the second most powerful court in the nation for 13 years before being nominated to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton. Being only the second woman to fill this role, she was continuing to break barriers.


Justice Ginsburg serves as a role model for so many women of all ages and backgrounds. Her drive and work ethic is inspiring even to her colleagues that don’t share the same beliefs. The legacy of RBG will live on and she will most certainly be a prominent name in history.


Her memory can be kept alive by doing one thing--voting. If you haven’t registered to vote, follow the instructions here. Double check that you are registered to vote. Finally, like RBG, stay true to your beliefs and stick up for what you believe in.


“When I’m sometimes asked 'When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?' and my answer is: 'When there are nine.' People are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg


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"My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933-2020

Anjali grew up in Boston and is currently a freshman at Penn State University studying Economics and Political Science. Her dream job is to work as a lawyer in New York City. You can find her doing pilates, listening to podcasts, or cooking for a post on her food account (@may_i_taste).
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