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Tribute: Call Her Lady Justice

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant who lived her life to uphold justice for all.

September was a whirlwind month. Going into October, we lost some veritable giants. Perhaps none mightier than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At 5’ 1”, she might have been small in stature, but she had the presence of a being from Roman mythology. Call her Lady Justice, the physical manifestation of the Roman goddess Iustitia.

The effects of Bader Ginsburg’s work extend far beyond the courtroom. Her groundbreaking rulings brought before the Supreme Court and her advocacy have pushed boundaries, providing progressive steps toward true justice in this country. Frankly, we at Austin Woman could fill an entire issue with achievements that attest to her impact on our community. For now, we highlight just a few of her most notable in the fight for women’s (and human) rights.

Bader Ginsburg was born Jane Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, NY, to an observant Jewish family.

Bader Ginsburg’s most active era of advocacy came in the 1970s.

In 1971, she wrote the brief for Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71. This pushed the Supreme Court to extend the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to women.

In 1972, she was appointed as a professor at Columbia University School of Law, where she was not only the first woman to claim tenure, she also co-authored the first law school casebook on sex discrimination. That same year she founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, which advocates for women on issues of employment, domestic violence, criminal justice and education. She became the project’s general counsel the following year.
All of Bader Ginsburg’s justice work in the 1970s culminated in one of the highest honors for a purveyor of justice.

Her groundbreaking rulings brought before the Supreme Court and her advocacy have pushed boundaries, providing progressive steps toward true justice in this country.

In 1993, she was sworn in as Supreme Court Justice, becoming only the second woman to do so. She would continue her righteous fight for equality throughout her 27-year tenure. Another milestone in her storied career came in August 2013, when she became the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dedication to justice continued until her passing on Friday, Sept. 18. Her passing on the day of Rosh Hashanah holds significance. Someone who passes on Rosh Hashanah is considered a tzedek in Jewish tradition. A tzedakah, as Bader Ginsburg would be, represents a balancing of the scales, correcting injustice. So we give the proper send-off to this giant, this agent of justice.

“May her memory be for blessing.”

As Molly Conway, a writer for The Forward penned so eloquently, “When you hear us say ‘May her memory be for a blessing’ don’t hear ‘It’s nice to remember her.’ Hear ‘It’s up to us to carry on her legacy.’ When you hear us say, ‘She was a tzaddeket’ don’t hear, ‘She was a nice person.’ Hear ‘She was a worker of justice.’”


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