Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg death happened on Friday 18th September 2020 due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. She was 87 years old.
RGB was US Supreme Court Justice, crusader, campaigner, champion of the underdog, and a fearless, fabulous woman.
The Supreme Court announced her death in a statement released on Friday saying Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “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.”
Having repeatedly beaten cancer, Ginsburg had come to almost seem invincible. She was a larger than life figure who became a hero to many young women trying to follow the path she forged in the legal profession. Ginsburg’s age and frail health were no secret, but her loss still comes as a shock.
On the court, Ginsburg offered the clearest and most cogent defense of abortion rights. She showed that sex discrimination involved often-baseless generalizations — a conclusion that helped advance successful equality claims made by LGBTQ+ groups.
Ginsburg has become an icon for a reason. Her impact on constitutional jurisprudence is hard to overestimate.
Whoever replaces Ginsburg will be filling the shoes of a trailblazer who began her career at a time when women were a rarity in the practice of law and rarer still at the nation’s top law firms.
“I became a lawyer when women were not wanted by the legal profession,” she said in a 2018 documentary about her life. “I did see myself as kind of a kindergarten teacher in those days because the judges didn’t think sex discrimination existed.”
The road to law
Born in Brooklyn, Ruth Bader went to public schools, where she excelled as a student — and as a baton twirler. By all accounts, it was her mother who was the driving force in her young life, but Celia Bader died of cancer the day before the future justice would graduate from high school.
Then 17, Ruth Bader went on to Cornell University on a full scholarship, where she met Martin (aka “Marty”) Ginsburg. “What made Marty so overwhelmingly attractive to me was that he cared that I had a brain,” she said.
After her graduation, they were married and went off to Fort Sill, Okla., for his military service. There Mrs. Ginsburg, despite scoring high on the civil service exam, could only get a job as a typist, and when she became pregnant, she lost even that job.
Two years later, the couple returned to the East Coast to attend Harvard Law School. She was one of only nine women in a class of more than 500 and found the dean asking her why she was taking up a place that “should go to a man.”
At Harvard, she was the academic star, not her husband. The couple were busy juggling schedules and their toddler when Marty Ginsburg was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Surgeries and aggressive radiation followed.
“So that left Ruth with a 3-year-old child, a fairly sick husband, the law review, classes to attend and feeding me,” Marty Ginsburg said in a 1993 interview with NPR.
The experience also taught the future justice that sleep was a luxury. During the year of her husband’s illness, he was only able to eat late at night; after that he would dictate his senior class paper to her. At about 2 a.m., he would go back to sleep, Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalled in an NPR interview. “Then I’d take out the books and start reading what I needed to be prepared for classes the next day.”
Marty Ginsburg survived, graduated and got a job in New York; his wife, a year behind him in school, transferred to Columbia, where she graduated at the top of her law school class. Despite her academic achievements, the doors to law firms were closed to women, and though recommended for a Supreme Court clerkship, she wasn’t even interviewed.
It was bad enough that she was a woman, she recalled later, but she was also a mother, and male judges worried she would be diverted by her “familial obligations.”
A mentor, law professor Gerald Gunther, finally got her a clerkship in New York by promising Judge Edmund Palmieri that if she couldn’t do the work, he would provide someone who could. That was “the carrot,” Ginsburg would say later. “The stick” was that Gunther, who regularly fed his best students to Palmieri, told the judge that if he didn’t take Ginsburg, Gunther would never send him a clerk again. The Ginsburg clerkship apparently was a success; Palmieri kept her not for the usual one year, but two, from 1959-61.
Ginsburg’s next path is rarely talked about, mainly because it doesn’t fit the narrative. She learned Swedish so she could work with Anders Bruzelius, a Swedish civil procedure scholar. Through the Columbia University School of Law Project on International Procedure, Ginsburg and Bruzelius co-authored a book.
In 1963, Ginsburg finally landed a teaching job at Rutgers Law School, where she at one point hid her second pregnancy by wearing her mother-in-law’s clothes. The ruse worked; her contract was renewed before her baby was born.
While at Rutgers, she began her work fighting gender discrimination, reports NPR.org