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“Inherent differences between men and women, we have come to appreciate, remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity.” 

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

This past weekend, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tragically passed away at the age of 87. In a time characterized by the pandemic, where death seems to have become increasingly desensitized by the density of the numbers, Ginsburg’s death is shocking and disheartening for most, and here is why:

RBG was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and would be sworn in as the second female on the court in history, becoming the only female justice at the time. She became known as the “Thurgood Marshall of women’s rights” because similarly to Thurgood Marshall, who fought to dismantle racial discrimination, she made no hesitation to dismantle sexual discrimination on the basis of our Constitution. 

 

She won 5 of 6 women’s rights cases she argued before the supreme court:

1. Frontiero vs Richardson

“A federal law requiring different qualification criteria for male and female military spousal dependency unconstitutionally discriminated against women in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.”

2. Duren vs. Mississippi

“Jackson County’s automatic exemption of women on request for a jury violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment guarantees to a trial by a jury chosen from a fair cross-section of the community.”

3. Kahn vs Shevin

“A Florida law that only provides property tax exemptions to widows on gender classification does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

4. Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld

“The gender-based distinction in the award of Social Security benefits to surviving spouses and their children violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”

5. Edwards vs. Healy

“Per Curiam opinion vacating the judgment of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana and remanding to that court to consider whether in the light of recent changes in the state constitutional, statutory and other rules applicable to the case, the cause—a challenge to the state’s exclusion of women from juries unless they filed a written declaration of their desire to serve—became moot.”

6. Califano vs. Goldfarb

“Under 42 U.S.C. Section 402, a widower must have been receiving half his support from his wife at her time of death, but this requirement, which was not imposed on widows whose husbands had recently passed away, was ruled unconstitutional.”

Notable: Roe vs. Wade

There is a constitutional right to abortion.

 

While the death of a justice is especially sorrowful, nonetheless right before an election, let’s celebrate Ginsburg’s victories which sought out to destroy all different types of sexual stereotypes. In changing legislative barriers that were founded on the principle that women relied on men, opportunities were further opened for not only women, but men, and families. 

 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/09/18/ruth-bader-ginsburg-supreme-court-women-history-column/5834820002/

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/06/15/us/supreme-court-woman-rejected-clerk-chosen-justice-ruth-joan-bader-ginsburg.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/18/us/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dead.html

https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2020/09/18/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-champion-of-women-rights-and-second-female-justice-dies-at-87/?slreturn=20200820210307

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/420/636.html?DCMP=google:ppc:K-FLPortal:10313486553:103002902536&HBX_PK=&sid=9009568&source=google~ppc

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/421/772.html

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1978/77-6067

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1973/73-78

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1976/75-699

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1972/71-1694

 

Elise Young

Wake Forest '23

Elise is currently a sophomore at Wake Forest with an intended Communications major. After returning from her freshman year abroad in Copenhagen, Elise joined the Her Campus writing staff this year in hopes of sharing her unique perspective through writing. In her free time Elise plays the piano, paints, develops her film photos, reads Frank O'Hara and eats a lot of chips and salsa.
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