Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her Legacy


Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been one of the Associate Justices on the Supreme Court since 1993. She has inspired many by being a feminist icon, fighting for women’s rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ plus rights. Sadly, she recently passed away on September 18th of 2020. She was on the Supreme Court for 27 years with the option to have retired under President Obama. But when people asked why she never retired during his time of presidency, she responded with, “It has been suggested by more than one commentator, including some law professors, that I should have stepped down during President Obama’s second term. When that suggestion is made, I ask the question: ‘Who do you think that the President could nominate that could get through the Republican Senate?’ Who you would prefer on the court [rather] than me?” (Reported by CNBC) 

 Photo Credit:

The Blue and White did our own research to see the different things people said about Ginsburg. Michelle Obama had some words to say about her, in an interview with Conan O’Brien on TBS; “I think about the determination and the sheer intelligence it took for people like Justice Ginsburg, and so many other women, who were at the frontlines of opening up opportunities for all of us. Her entire legal career, her time on the Supreme Court, really pushed open a new set of possibilities for women all over the country and all over the world. She was an icon. A great role model to me, and a dear friend to me and to Barack.” Another friend of Ruth Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Obama in 2009 and worked alongside Ginsburg. In a press release she talked about her saying, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American hero. She spent her life fighting for the equality of all people, and she was a pathbreaking champion of women’s rights. She served our Court and country with consummate dedication, tirelessness, and passion for justice. She has left a legacy few could rival.” Lastly, in a short statement at Ginsburg’s funeral, Joe Biden said she “practiced the highest American ideals as Justice” and “stood for all of us.” He also said how “It’s hard to believe it was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearing. In the decades since, she has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone.”

We also interviewed two lawyers who look up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. One of them, Melissa Fussell, said Ginsburg has inspired her in many ways, including how she “inspired me to be more moderate. She got where she was by compromising when she needed to and standing firm when it really counted. In the legal profession, you have to choose your battles carefully. Her life is an excellent example of how to do that.” Seeing as Ruth Ginsburg also had many accomplishments throughout her time on court, we asked Ms.Fussell which ones she thought to be most important. Her response was, “I think her most important accomplishments were the ones early in her legal career. Climbing to the top of her nearly all-male class and getting a clerkship. She went on to do much greater things, but the odds of achieving those two must have seemed insurmountable for a woman at the time.” Because we also know that she looks up to Ginsburg we asked why she thought of her to be a good role model. “I think Justice Ginsburg is a good role model because she steered clear of ideological arrogance. She did not assume that because someone disagreed with her, they were a bad or unintelligent person. That enabled her to do great things from the bench.”  Lastly, we asked how she thought Justice Ginsburg had an effect on people throughout her time in court. “I think she inspired a lot of women lawyers to shoot for equality rather than tokenism. My law school’s chapter of the Women’s Law Society had t-shirts with her famous quote, ‘When there are nine.’ She said that in response to being asked when there would be enough women on the Supreme Court. I think there is a tendency to think that when there is a ‘first woman’ to achieve something, the glass ceiling has been broken, and the work is done. But if nine women on the Supreme Court raises eyebrows, and nine men does not, then we have not made it yet. I think those words had a tremendous impact on women lawyers.”

We asked a second lawyer, Judi Garabo Hayes, similar questions about how Ruth Ginsburg inspired her. She explains that, “I was always impressed with her gravitas, she wrote so powerfully about equal protection and never shied away from a dissent. I find that having a command of the facts and the law helps me to write more confidently as well.” She then went on to explain how she feels about the loss of Ginsburg on court. “The loss of such a strong and consistent champion for equal protection is terrifying. She was a stalwart protector of women’s rights and the court will swing far to the right without her, most likely. That’s bad news for women, and for the LGBTQIA Americans and other marginalized communities.” Lastly, The Blue and White also asked Ms.Garabo Hayes how she thought Ginsburg affected people. She answered that “As only the second woman on the court, she’s empowered a generation of young women and girls to stand up for what they believe in and speak up when their voices shake.” 

Many people talk of Ruth Bader Ginsburg very highly. They describe her as someone who spent most of her life fighting for equality. She had the option to retire 12 years ago but was dedicated to her job, even when fighting pancreatic cancer. When she had lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, Ginsburg’s last request was to not be replaced until after a new President is installed. Although we aren’t sure if her wishes will be fulfilled yet, a lot of people have  hopes of them being met.                                                                                                                                                       Photo Credit: