On Friday, the world learned that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 after serving 27 years on the Court. She was a hero to many, and hers is an immeasurable loss as an unwavering voice for equality.
RBG was nominated for the Supreme Court in 1993, only the second woman ever to serve on the Court after Sandra Day O’Connor. Though famously soft-spoken, RBG was best known for her fierce and fiery written dissents. Colleagues on the court like the late Antonin Scalia—with whom she often disagreed—called her a “tigress on civil procedure” and said, “She has done more to shape the law in this field than any other justice on this court.”
Truly, RBG’s influence and reach cannot be understated. Throughout her career—as a law school educator, co-founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, and as a judge—gender equality was central to work. She moved the needle on everything from Title IX, which forbids gender discrimination in schools, to pay equity, access to reproductive health care, and voter enfranchisement.
The Notorious RBG, as she came to be known after her blistering dissent on a landmark voter rights case in 2013, believed that “Women belong in all places where decisions are made,” and famously replied when asked when she thought there would be enough women on the Supreme Court, “When there are nine.”
She was a 5 foot, 1 inch giant and a revolutionary force for equality, who said that she hoped to be remembered as “Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”
She will be remembered for her brilliant mind and her tireless fight. And ultimately, it’s not the Supreme Court, but up to individuals like each one of us and the young people we serve to achieve justice. Even in these most challenging times, when cynicism can creep in easily and hope can be hard to find and sustain, we will keep up the fight for justice through our individual and collective action.
Rest in power, RBG.