Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer . She was 87.
USA- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., the court said. A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.
Justice Ruth Bader had suffered from five bouts of cancer, most recently a recurrence in early 2020 when a biopsy revealed lesions on her liver. In a statement she said that chemotherapy was yielding “positive results” and that she was able to maintain an active daily routine.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Chief Justice John Roberts. “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.”
Who is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ?
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born March 15, 1933 , also known by her initials RBG.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated by President Bill Clinton on June 14, 1993, and had served since August 10, 1993. Ginsburg became the second of four female justices to be confirmed to the Court after Sandra Day O’Connor, the two others being Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom are still serving in 2020.
Following O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 and until Sotomayor joined the Court in 2009, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia(1996), Olmstead v. L.C.(1999), and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.(2000). RIP Queen Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg .
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg road to law
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., 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, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 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, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 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,” said Marty Ginsburg 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.” RIP Queen Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg .
The mother brief
Her first big case was a challenge to a law that barred a Colorado man named Charles Moritz from taking a tax deduction for the care of his 89-year-old mother. The IRS said the deduction, by statute, could only be claimed by women, or widowed or divorced men. But Moritz had never married.
The tax court concluded that the Internal Revenue Code was immune to constitutional challenge, a notion that tax lawyer Marty Ginsburg viewed as “preposterous.” The two Ginsburgs took on the case — he from the tax perspective, she from the constitutional perspective.
According to Marty Ginsburg, for his wife, this was the “mother brief.” She had to think through all the issues and how to fix the inequity. The solution was to ask the court not to invalidate the statute but to apply it equally to both sexes. She won in the lower courts.
“Amazingly,” he recalled in a 1993 NPR interview, the government petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that the decision “cast a cloud of unconstitutionality” over literally hundreds of federal statutes, and it attached a list of those statutes, which it compiled with Defense Department computers.
Those laws, Marty Ginsburg added, “were the statutes that my wife then litigated … to overturn over the next decade.”
In 1971, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would write her first Supreme Court brief in the case of Reed v. Reed. Ruth Bader Ginsburg represented Sally Reed, who thought she should be the executor of her son’s estate instead of her ex-husband.
The constitutional issue was whether a state could automatically prefer men over women as executors of estates. The answer from the all-male Supreme Court: no.
It was the first time the court had struck down a state law because it discriminated based on gender.
And that was just the beginning. RIP Queen Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg .
By then Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was earning quite a reputation. She would become the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School, and she would found the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
As the chief architect of the battle for women’s legal rights, Ginsburg devised a strategy that was characteristically cautious, precise and single-mindedly aimed at one goal: winning.
Knowing that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to persuade male, establishment-oriented judges, she often picked male plaintiffs, and she liked Social Security cases because they illustrated how discrimination against women can harm men. For example, in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, she represented a man whose wife, the principal breadwinner, died in childbirth. The husband sought survivor’s benefits to care for his child, but under the then-existing Social Security law, only widows, not widowers, were entitled to such benefits.
“This absolute exclusion, based on gender per se, operates to the disadvantage of female workers, their surviving spouses, and their children,” Ginsburg told the justices at oral argument. The Supreme Court would ultimately agree, as it did in five of the six cases she argued.
In an interview with NPR, she explained the legal theory that she eventually sold to the Supreme Court.
“The words of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause — ‘nor shall any state deny to any person the equal protection of the laws.’ Well that word, ‘any person,’ covers women as well as men. And the Supreme Court woke up to that reality in 1971,” Ginsburg said.
During these pioneering years, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would often work through the night as she had during law school. But by this time, she had two children, and she later liked to tell a story about the lesson she learned when her son, in grade school, seemed to have a proclivity for getting into trouble.
The scrapes were hardly major, and Ginsburg grew exasperated by demands from school administrators that she come in to discuss her son’s alleged misbehavior. Finally, there came a day when she had had enough. “I had stayed up all night the night before, and I said to the principal, ‘This child has two parents. Please alternate calls.’ “
After that, she found, the calls were few and far between. It seemed, she said, that most infractions were not worth calling a busy husband about. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Supreme Court’s second woman
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter named Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Over the next 13 years, she would amass a record as something of a centrist liberal, and in 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court, the second woman appointed to the position.
She was not first on his list. For months, Clinton flirted with other potential nominees, and some women’s rights activists withheld their active support because they were worried about Ginsburg’s views on abortion. She had been publicly critical of the legal reasoning in Roe v. Wade.
But in the background, Marty Ginsburg was lobbying hard for his wife. And finally Ruth Ginsburg was invited for a meeting with the president. As one White House official put it afterward, Clinton “fell for her — hook, line and sinker.” So did the Senate. She was confirmed by a 96-3 vote.
Once on the court, Ginsburg was an example of a woman who defied stereotypes. Though she looked tiny and frail, she rode horses well into her 70s and even went parasailing. At home, it was her husband who was the chef, indeed a master chef, while the justice cheerfully acknowledged she was an awful cook.
Though a liberal, she and the court’s conservative icon, Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, were the closest of friends. Indeed, an opera called Scalia/Ginsburg is based on their legal disagreements, and their affection for each other. RIP Queen Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg .
In 2014, she dissented fiercely from the court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a decision that allowed some for-profit companies to refuse, on religious grounds, to comply with a federal mandate to cover birth control in health care plans. Such an exemption, she said, would “deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs, access to contraceptive coverage.”
Where, she asked, “is the stopping point?” Suppose it offends an employer’s religious belief “to pay the minimum wage” or “to accord women equal pay?”
And in 2013, when the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, contending that times had changed and the law was no longer needed, Ginsburg dissented. She said that throwing out the provision “when it has worked and is continuing to work … is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
She viewed her dissents as a chance to persuade a future court.
“Some of my favorite opinions are dissenting opinions,” Ginsburg told NPR. “I will not live to see what becomes of them, but I remain hopeful.”
And yet, Ginsburg still managed some unexpected victories by winning over one or two of the conservative justices in important cases. In 2015, for example, she authored the court’s decision upholding independent redistricting commissions established by voter referenda as a way of removing some of the partisanship in drawing legislative district lines.
Ginsburg always kept a backbreaking schedule of public appearances both at home and abroad, even after five bouts with cancer: colon cancer in 1999, pancreatic cancer 10 years later, lung cancer in 2018, and then pancreatic cancer again in 2019 and liver lesions in 2020. During that time, she endured chemotherapy, radiation, and in the last years of her life, terrible pain from shingles that never went away completely. All who knew her admired her grit. In 2009, three weeks after major cancer surgery, she surprised everyone when she showed up for the State of the Union address.
Shortly after that, she was back on the bench; it was her husband, Marty, who told her she could do it, even when she thought she could not, she told NPR.
A year later her psychological toughness was on full display when her beloved husband of 56 years was mortally ill. As she packed up his things at the hospital before taking him home to die, she found a note he had written to her. “My Dearest Ruth,” it began, “You are the only person I have ever loved,” setting aside children and family. “I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell. … The time has come for me to … take leave of life because the loss of quality simply overwhelms. I hope you will support where I come out, but I understand you may not. I will not love you a jot less.”
Shortly after that, Marty Ginsburg died at home. The next day, his wife, the justice, was on the bench, reading an important opinion she had authored for the court. She was there, she said, because “Marty would have wanted it.”
Years later, she would read the letter aloud in an NPR interview, and at the end, choke down the tears.
In the years after Marty’s death, she would persevere without him, maintaining a jam-packed schedule when she was not on the bench or working on opinions.
Some liberals criticicized her for not retiring while Obama was president, but she was at the top of her game, enjoyed her work enormously and feared that Republicans might not confirm a successor. She was an avid consumer of opera, literature and modern art. But in the end, it was her work, she said, that sustained her.
“I do think that I was born under a very bright star,” she said in an NPR interview. “Because if you think about my life, I get out of law school. I have top grades. No law firm in the city of New York will hire me. I end up teaching; it gave me time to devote to the movement for evening out the rights of women and men.”
And it was that legal crusade for women’s rights that ultimately led to her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
To the end of her tenure, she remained a special kind of feminist, both decorous and dogged.Source