Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Women’s Rights Pioneer (1933-2020)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg served a historic role in the U. S. Supreme Court. However, one does not get appointed to such a post without already having a deep resume of service to their country. She lived a historic career and fought for women’s rights before she sat on the Supreme Court and WAY before women’s rights were fashionable. Her legacy will live on in the women who now serve in our nation’s halls of power…to the benefit of us all. I think there will and should be more women in the highest court of the land.

She, along with many other women, had to fight harder than a men for every step of her of her success.

  • A top student, she graduated from high school at age fifteen, but her family sent her brother to college first.
  • She graduated the top woman in her class at Cornell.
  • She was demoted at the Social Security Administration for being pregnant with her first child…a tragic commonality in those days.
  • She attended Harvard Law School where the Dean accused her of taking the place of a man. She was one of nine women in a class of 500.
  • When her husband started working in New York, she transferred to Columbia Law School and was the first woman to end up on the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review.
  • She tied for top of her class when she graduated from Columbia.
  • In spite of her accomplishments in school she was turned down several times for employment because she was a woman.
  • After an energetic recommendation from her professor at Harvard, she spent two years as a law clerk for Judge Palmieri of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • She worked for several years on International Procedure, co-authoring a book on the subject…learning Swedish along the way.
  • She served as a professor at Rutgers Law School, where they used her husband’s income as an excuse to pay her less. She received tenure in 1969.
  • She co-founded the law journal Women’s Rights Law Reporter in 1970.
  • After Rutgers, she became the first tenured woman to teach at Columbia University and wrote the first law school casebook on sex discrimination.
  • She spent a year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.
  • In 1972 after co-founding the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, she served as general counsel for it for many years, accumulating many legal victories against gender discriminatory laws. Around that same time she began writing briefs for Supreme Court cases regarding discrimination against women and later began arguing cases before that court.

She had already more than earned the position of Federal Judge by the time President Jimmy Carter nominated her to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1980.

President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993. From her seat on the highest court in the land, Ginsburg continued to vocally stand up for women and served for many years as the only women’s voice on the court. Her influence served as a reliable and unifying anchor that rooted issues like equal pay and treatment for women in the workplace, a woman’s right to choose an abortion, various important decisions protecting women, and shedding overall gender bias throughout U.S. society. As one of the Liberals on the court, she provided a badly needed, reasonable pillar of support on other cases as well. She also provided a much less publicized unifying voice and family advocacy.

All of her life, as women struggled for decades for fair treatment in the workplace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has supported their efforts in the court room where actual changes could be made. The fact that her service to the Supreme Court took on a controversial air was the fault of some of the cases brought before it. True patriots in the United States of America are and have always been the pioneers of one stripe or another, the movers for change, growth, and advancement of the human condition. Justice Ginsburg will always be remembered as a bold and powerful advocate and pioneer for women’s rights in America.

~ by Bill Housley on September 19, 2020.

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