“When there are nine,” RBG’s fight for women’s rights on the Supreme Court
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fight for women’s rights in America’s highest court was both strategic and constant.
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On Friday Sept. 18, the iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from pancreatic cancer at 87 years old. Ginsburg was a pioneer for gender equality and civil liberties and has left an indelible mark on the law in the U.S.
The “Notorious RBG,” a nickname Ginsburg got later in her stint on the court, was once asked when there will be enough women on the Court, and responded, “when there are nine.”
Her effort to empower women was both strategic and constant in her time on the Supreme Court.
Throughout her 27 years on America’s highest court, Ginsburg stood firm on many women’s right issues, including equal pay for equal work, the right to bodily autonomy, and the right for same-sex couples to get married.
In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, Ginsburg took on Texas’ H.B. 2 law, which was designed to chip away at abortion access by imposing medically unnecessary requirements on providers and clinics.
The Court ruled them as unconstitutional, proving to be a big win for reproductive rights.
“It is beyond rational belief that H.B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law ‘would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions,” Ginsburg wrote as well.
While she mainly focused on women’s rights, she fought for men as well.
In the 1975 landmark gender discrimination case, Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, Ginsburg helped a male widower earn access to his wife’s social security benefits.
She wanted to challenge the outdated notion that only women are dependent on their husbands, but also wanted to free men from the expectation of being the sole provider for a household.
Ginsburg’s work towards gender equality did not only live in the court.
In the 1960’s, she was a law professor, serving as a fierce advocate for these issues, and co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in 1972.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg began studying at Harvard Law School in 1956, she was one of only nine other women in her class. At the time, the school’s dean asked the women why they were occupying seats that could otherwise be filled by men.
But after being appointed as the second woman ever to the Supreme Court Justice in 1993, it became clear that times had changed and women do belong in all the places where the nation’s most important decisions are made.
In a statement dictated to her granddaughter, Ginsburg announced that her dying wish is to not be replaced until a new president is in office. Yet, President Trump, with no evidence, suggested that this wish was a “deal” cooked up by Democrats.
During a Sept. 21 appearance on Fox & Friends, Trump said he would announce a female nominee for the Supreme Court after memorial services for Ginsburg. Once again, Trump is disrespecting women, this time by dismissing and denying the “most fervent wish” of a legendary Supreme Court Justice.