The Iconic R.B.G


As if 2020 couldn’t get any worse. In the already catastrophically, abominably, irreversibly, almost-comically terrible year that this has been, another crushing blow was dealt upon humanity through the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. To say that this is one of the worst things to have occurred amidst a sea of grievous occurrences this year is both valid and testimony to the truly spectacular person R.B.G was and what the loss of her symbolizes.


Born in the eternally-moving city of Brooklyn, Ginsburg saw first hand the necessity of a prevailing work ethic and strong-will in the impoverished, working-class neighborhood she inhabited. She also saw through her mother’s lessons the beauty of a woman obtaining education and using that to fuel her independence. Those sentiments in mind, Ginsburg took to academics with the specific essence of those truly brilliant; she graduated first from her class with a bachelor’s degree in government at Cornell University. In the midst of this scholarly devotion there was also a desirable home situation, as Ruth Bader became Ruth Bader Ginsburg through her marriage to law student Martin D. Ginsburg and the two had a blessed baby girl they called Jane.


Just having an active mind would prove to be insufficient in achieving her goals. In addition to intelligence, she also had to have the ability to raise her child while attending the male dominated, often disparaging Harvard Law school. This was no easy task- in an ocean of over 500 male students, there were only eight other women; additionally the dean illustrated the sexist perpsective so commonplace of that time and chided the female students for occupying positions that he felt should’ve been delegated to qualified men. For many, the required juggle of child-raising and the diligent demands placed on law students would be enough to forgo any career aspirations. However Ginsburg, not being a throw-up-the-hands-call-it-quits type of person, continued her stride of excellence and became the first female member of the desirable Harvard Law Review.


The end of her dazzling academic career was concluded through her graduation in Columbia Law School. However despite the high grades, the attendance to Ivy League universities and the nearly immaculate school performance, Ginsburg would come to find the hardships faced by working women and those who were Jewish. Contentions placed on females who worked in male-dominated professions were not just rampant, but established practice, and gender discimination, as well as discrimination against Jews, was made law of the land. 


After being paid less than her male colleagues, rejected by multiples of law firms and having to hide her pregnancy in baggy clothes- Ginsburg saw through her own experiences the sheer reality of sexism in the workplace- and the necessity of eradicating it. Ginsburg would argue six impactful cases before the Supreme Court as a litigator on the nature of gender discimination. This included a law excluding women from jury service and giving social security benefits to a widower. In the end, she won five out of the six cases she worked on and in the process changed the landscape for American women. 

Ginsburg would continue to dazzle and accomplish, only now on a bigger stage as she was appointed by former President Bill Clinton to be the second female and first Jewish Supreme Court Justice in 1993. It was here that her prominent liberal presence helped distnugish some of the nation’s most pivitiol cases, including the 2015 case to legalize same-sex marriage nation wide and the 2020 one prohibitng buisnesses from firing someone base on their sexual orientiaion, both of which Ginsburg voted in favor in. 


An impressive resume is a boastful affair assuredly, but perhaps Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s true, unending, unwavering, untouchable magic was in who she was as a person, not as an academic or lawyer. She was tenacious and determined to be sure (after all, how many people in their eighties can boast about working out, much less working out as tirelessly as she did) but she was also kind-hearted and empathetic. Mere weeks prior to her death, she officiated a couple’s wedding, even after having just been released from the hospital. For that’s who Ruth was at heart; a strong, unbreakable, unmatchable star who was equal parts kind and compassionate. Ginsburg embodied what it meant to be gracious even when others are not. And for that, as well as her once-in-a-lifetime mind and historic accomplishments, it is clear the world was truly deprived of someone special. Here’s to the one and only R.B.G, an icon like no other.