Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion of Women, Died Friday

Jenna Lee, Copy Staffer

Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 on Friday night. Ginsburg had continuously struggled with health problems during her time on the Supreme Court, surviving cancer three times. The court’s statement reported that she died from pancreatic cancer. 

“Our nation has lost a jurist of the highest stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her—a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

Ginsburg’s impact on the U.S Justice System, along with her persistent push for gender equality, was felt all across the nation. She graduated first in her class at Columbia Law School then landed a job as an attorney in front of the US Supreme Court. After years of practicing law, she was appointed to the Supreme Court as the second ever female justice. The “Notorious RBG,” has no shortage of accomplishments. 

She was also seen as a hero on Capitol Hill, as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, “The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is devastating. Justice Ginsburg embodied justice, brilliance and goodness, and her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who sacrifice and strive to build a better future for our children.”

Ginsburg assessed the constitutionality of sex-based laws in the Craig v. Boren case, defended a women’s right to choose by protecting the Roe v. Wade decision, and wrote powerful dissents that challenged Congress to change discriminatory gender wage gap laws.

In her later years, Ginsburg became a pop culture icon for the younger generation. Her quotes were turned into T-shirts, her face was reproduced as a feminist icon, and her signature lace collar was worn for Halloween costumes. The documentary “RBG” and blockbuster film “On The Basis of Sex” both chronicled her life, leading to further notoriety with the public. Young girls especially saw her as an example of how to lead their lives. 

“I definitely try to lead and be a pioneering feminist in the way that she was,” said theatre alumna Skylar Geraghty, who once played Ginsburg in a theatre showcase. “I think it was just so inspiring for young women to see what she had done and how she was able to stand up for them.”

Ginsburg, a left-leaning justice on a majority right-leaning court, dictated her final wish to her granddaughter, asking that she not be replaced until a new president is appointed. However, as President Donald Trump is currently in office, he has the opportunity to appoint her successor. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other republicans in the Senate hope to appoint her replacement before election day to ensure a 6-3 majority in the court. Democrats, however, argue that it should be held off until after, citing the blocking of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016, which also occurred during an election year. 

As it stands, the Supreme Court has a right-leaning majority, so the decision of Ginsburg’s successor will have a significant impact on the court’s political balance. President Trump released a list last week of people he is considering to fill the vacancy, one being former presidential candidate and Senator Ted Cruz.  

However, no matter her replacement, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy will never be forgotten. Her decisions and accomplishments continue to affect our legal system and our everyday lives. And upon her death, a politically divided nation collectively mourns her loss.