Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87- September 18, 2020

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Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday, the 18th of September after battling pancreatic cancer. She passed away in her home in Washington D.C., surrounded by her close friends and family, at the age of 87.

Her impact and why she was a role model for women everywhere:

Ruth Joan Bader was born on March 15, 1933 and raised in in Brooklyn, New York into a low-income Jewish family. Her parents, Nathan and Cecelia Bader, raised her with Jewish values and taught her to be independent and value education, because of this RBG broke stereotypes and challenged gender roles before the world even knew her name. She graduated high school at James Madison High School in Brooklyn but she was always interested in higher education. In 1954, RBG graduated from Cornell University where she met her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg. That same year, the couple had their first child, Mr. Ginsburg was drafted into the military where he served for two years. Soon afterwards, they had both enrolled in Harvard, and RBG was somehow able to balance motherhood and family life and her education in a field that was very male-dominated and at times hostile. Her professors were skeptical of women in law and so they along with other members of the staff made sure to make Bader’s academic journey as difficult as possible. They rarely offered help, they mocked her, and even attempted to prevent her from accessing study materials from the school library.

Nevertheless, she persisted. Ginsburg eventually became the first female member of the Harvard Law Review. She graduated alongside her class of 500, 9 of them were female students, in 1959 at the top of her class. She worked for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She argued hundreds of gender discrimination cases, some of which made their way to the Supreme Court. RBG later co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the United States’ Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. Thirteen years later, President Bill Clinton appointed her as Associate Justice and she continued her fight for women’s rights and authored 200+ opinions. It was for these reasons that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had gained the reputation of being a passionate advocate for gender equality and a pioneer for women’s rights in the United States.

Her health:

Ruth Bader may be famous for her role in fighting for gender equality and her decisions that will forever impact American history, but what you may not know is that she was quite the gym buff. Her trainer even wrote a book about her routine and how surprised he was that she could handle what she could. In 2016 an article from Health.com gave a quick summary of her routine and stated that Justice Ginsburg could bench 70 lbs. In 2018 she went viral on YouTube for her vigorous workout routine after Stephen Colbert joined her at the gym. The then 54-year-old man struggled to keep up with a woman 31 years his senior. Watch the video here.

While she was surprisingly fit for someone of her age, her passing was anything but shocking. Ginsburg was barely 5 feet tall, weighed about 100 lbs, and had a history of battling cancer. Her last diagnosis came in July after a routine blood test. Just this January she had announced that she was cancer-free after dealing with lung cancer since 2018. Months later she revealed that after a biopsy, her doctors had found lesions on her liver and in May she began chemotherapy treatment that showed a “significant reduction” of lesions. 

This was RBG’s 5th bout of cancer and while many feared it would be her undoing, Justice Ginsburg continued working. After her 80th birthday, she faced a lot of criticism and was even told by her peers that she should retire. She planned to stay “as long as I can do the job full steam,” she would often say. Her work ethic is something that we will never forget. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman to serve the Supreme Court, she was a pioneer for gender equality and women’s rights, she was a cultural icon and an inspiration to women all over the world. We will mourn her as a nation but we will not let this tragic loss hinder us from growth. She worked so diligently because she hoped that it would make it easier for us to make the world a better place. Her legacy will not be forgotten. Her work will not be in vain. Please vote in this year’s election and if you aren’t of age yet, please encourage others to use their voice because together we will be heard.