A Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Pioneer in Modern Women’s Rights By Gwen Langi and Ani Tutunjyan

A mother, a woman and a lawyer.

These words served as a double-edged sword to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was both condemned and praised by the public for these descriptions. Juggling between motherhood and law school is no easy task but Ginsburg continued to do so until she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

“I struck out on three grounds. I was Jewish, a woman and a mother. The first raised one eyebrow; the second, two; the third made me indubitably inadmissible,” Justice Ginsburg said.

Making history as the second woman to serve on the U.S Supreme Court, her appointment isn’t the only notable event in her lifetime. One of her famous cases is United States v. Virginia of 1996 where Justice Ginsburg pushed to file a suit against the Virginia Military Institute, the last standing all-male college. Courts ruled in favor of the U.S stating that the institute violated the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment and could no longer deny female students.

Before Justice Ginsburg was appointed she was already fighting against gender-based discrimination and arguing legal cases to undo women's societal and legal barriers.

courtesy of Yash Mori

While a professor at Rutgers Law School, she experienced gender discrimination and joined an equal pay campaign at Rutgers after discovering that she was being paid less than her male colleagues. The equal pay campaign led to a salary increase for the Rutgers female staff.

Justice Ginsburg went on to become the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Women's Rights Project and won five prominent cases concerning gender equality.

After being appointed to the Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg continued to fight against gender discrimination, winning cases in favor of both men and women.

A notable case of her’s is her representation of Charles E. Moritz, a taxpayer who was denied a deduction by the International Revenue Service (IRS) because he was an unmarried man. It was ruled that the IRS violated the Constitution and an IRS code was amended to ensure that men and women were entitled to the same caregiving and Social Security rights.

Thanks to Justice Ginsburg laws giving women more liberty were passed.

Women received the right to be financially independent and were able to apply for credit cards, mortgages and bank accounts without a male co-signer.

She also pushed to protect pregnant women in the workforce in the case of Struck v. Secretary of Defense. Half a century ago, it was standard for women to be fired from their jobs when they were pregnant, but sex discrimination is now illegal in all workplaces.

At a time where women were dismissed and overlooked, Ginsburg fought to ensure that women were being seen, heard and understood. She believed there were no areas where women weren’t allowed or as important saying,

She believed there were no areas where women weren’t allowed or as important saying, "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made," Justice Ginsburg said.

courtesy of Yash Mori

Without Justice Ginsburg’s commitment to a progressive society, women wouldn’t have some of their most fundamental rights.

Although her most memorable contributions were for the advancement of women’s rights, Justice Ginsberg’s fight for equality was a mission across the board.

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

She made important attributes to cases involving same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act in 2015. Her history in fighting for immigrant rights gained her much support from the public.

Before Justice Ginsburg’s passing she made a request: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” And with only 40 days before the election, Trump has tweeted that he plans to announce his Supreme Court Nominee on Sept. 26.

The public is anxious to see who Trump will choose to occupy the vacant seat but Justice Ginsberg’s legacy will always live on.


Yash Mori and Wikimedia Commons