The Iconic Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and What Her Death Means for the U.S.

The civil rights of entire demographics within a nation should not be determined by the presence of a singular person. Unfortunately, in the U.S., this is not the case, and the death of 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020 has created a massive wave of concern and panic for many Americans. Feminist and human rights pioneer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg —often referred to as “RBG” by her admirers — served as the second woman on the U.S. Supreme Court for 27 years, paving the way for a more righteous and just society. Her legacy has been a source of both contentions as well as intense reverence that has unfolded on every spectrum after her passing.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 2016 portrait Photo by Supreme Court of the United States distributed under a public domain license

As a woman, RBG faced a multitude of barriers before establishing her position on the highest court in the nation. At Harvard University in 1956, her presence as one of nine women enrolled in the law school was questioned by authority figures. RBG was denied a clerkship on the Supreme Court, as well as jobs at New York law firms before being entrusted to use her unbeatable persuasion skills and grit to transform gender equality through law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg channeled a lot of the sex-based discrimination that she experienced in the legal realm to drive her to fight for the rights of minorities; passing laws to uphold abortion rights, same-sex marriage, women’s equality in educational institutions, and much more.   

For the rights of many marginalized people, the timing of RBG’s death could potentially be life-altering. Despite nearing the 2020 presidential election, the Trump Administration and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, are determined to finalize RBG’s replacement before the president’s current term has ended. Additionally, Republicans are succumbing to a double standard surrounding the words of Lindsey Graham. In 2016, Graham along with the majority Republican Senate, blocked Obama from following through with a Supreme Court nomination, saying that during an election year, no one should be confirmed to the court. Despite this statement, the GOP is currently rushing to confirm RBG’s successor. 

Lady Justice background Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm On September 26th, the President announced that he will nominate conservative judge, Amy Coney Barrett, who markedly supports gun rights and opposes abortion as well as immigration. Notably, the Republican-dominated Senate, as well as President Trump, are both supported by a minority of the nation according to popular votes. Despite this discrepancy, if the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation processes are finalized during Trump’s presidency, the GOP will be in full control of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government which poses a threat to true democracy and progress. 

As Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life came to a close, she announced to her granddaughter: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Hopefully, RBG’s final aspiration is upheld and the harsh tactics of politics do not intrude on her vehement request. Regardless of what the future holds for the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a feminist icon that helped to improve the lives of women and minorities across the U.S.. Ginsburg’s decades of unfeigned work within the justice system will carry on with her legacy. May her memory be a blessing.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg memorial Photo by Ted Eytan distributed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license