Member Directory

Remembering the Legacy of RBG

Black and white photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg sitting in a chair

Some remember her as a lobbyist, and some might remember her as a feminist icon. However, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or “RBG” will certainly be remembered as a champ of equal rights. She made it her life's work to make certain that no matter what gender you are or who you love, that you will be treated as an equal in American culture and in the eyes of the law. She did this by getting rid of gender-based stereotyping in regulations as well as legislation. Several think about RBG architect of the legal defence ladies’ rights in the 1970's. 

Certainly, she transformed the lives for American women of all walks of life. By the time she took her seat on the Supreme court, she had revolutionized the lawful rights of females that extended from their individual lives to the office. She became a symbol to modern women of every age, passionately dubbing her the "Notorious RBG". She will forever be remembered for her contribution to female’s legal rights in America. As Justice Ginsburg always fervently reiterated from the Old Testament, “Justice, justice, thou shalt pursue.”

While several recognize her for her time on the Supreme Court, long before this she was influencing the legal realm and society in its entirety from her work as a district judge in addition to being an attorney and law professor. Born in 1933, by 1959 at 25 years old she was a clerk to a judge in the United States District Court.

  • In the 60’s she was a research associate and professor at Columbia and Rutgers School of law respectively. 
  • In the 70’s she was general counsel for the ACLU and founded their Women’s Rights Project.
  • In the 80’s she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 
  • In the 90’s she was sworn in as Supreme Court justice filling the seat of Justice Byron White on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was the second woman on the Supreme Court. She stayed in this position for 27 years until her death.

At the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg argued 6 as well as won 5 Supreme Court cases in the 1970's.

Achievements as a Litigator:

RBG obtained her law degree from Columbia Law School in 1959 after attending Harvard Law School from 1956-1958. She had the ability to obtain a clerkship in the United States District Court for the Southern District Court of New York City from 1959-1961. Triggered from being deprived by her status as a female, Ginsburg passionately advocated gender equality. She altered millions of lives from her work as a lawyer. Prior to her time on the bench, she argued six cases in front of the Supreme Court, and won five of these.

RBG was a pioneer of women’s rights, working tirelessly to make sure that women were given the same treatment as their male counterparts in whatever context. Her fight against sex-based discrimination started far prior to her role on the High court. In her own experiences after finishing law school, she found that her gender was an obstacle to progressing in her profession. Although Ginsburg was ranked first in her graduating class at Columbia Law, she did not get work at any of the 12 preliminary firms she interviewed at. Further, Supreme Court Justices declined to take her as a staff regardless of raving referrals from professors at Harvard Law. 

Ginsburg fought for a lot more than women’s rights. While she is most definitely remembered as a symbol for feminism, a lot of Ginsburg's lawful triumphs were not based on sex discrimination. Ginsburg further defended impaired individuals, undocumented people and the LGBTQ+ community. She focused on expanding civil liberties in regards to voting rights as well. Ginsburg also literally created the book on laws of gender discrimination, which was released 1974. When RBG initially began her legal campaign, ladies were treated much differently from their male equivalents.

Ginsburg argued six cases on equality prior to the U.S. Supreme Court. She made use of a gender-blind technique in her fight for women, impressing that every person no matter the gender was entitled to equal rights. Ginsburg argued Frontiero, Weinberger v. Wisenfeld, Califano v. Goldfarb, Durn v. Missouri, as well as Edwards v. Healy in front of the Supreme Court.

When Ginsburg started dealing with the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU, she started litigating sex discrimination cases. Her primary method was to slowly handle winnable cases to ultimately eliminate institutionalized discrimination against females with lawful criterion.

Notable Cases Argued 

Reed v. Reed: (1971 )

RBG represented Sally Reed in 1971. Reed thought that she needed to be executor of her kid's estate opposed to her ex-husband. The court held that the state could not automatically prefer males over women to be executors of estates. This was the very first time the court struck down a state legislation because of gender discrimination. 

Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue: (1972 )

Ginsburg's first big case was to oppose a law that prevented Charles Moritz from taking a tax reduction for the care of his 89-year-old mother. Ginsburg's husband called this instance the going through a formula of asking the court to apply laws to both sexes. The government specified that this decision "cast a cloud of unconstitutionality over thousands of federal statutes.” These laws would certainly turn out to be the cases that Ginsburg would function relentlessly to overturn in the following decade.

Frontiero v. Richardson (1973 )

The court decided in this landmark case argued by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on behalf of the ACLU, that a statute that imposes requirements on women but not on similarly situated men violates the Due Process Clause of the 5th amendment. The court plurality agreed that when applying a strict standard of review to sex-based classification, that the government interest in administrative convenience could not justify administrative practices. During this case, which was Ginsburg’s first oral argument before the Supreme Court, she quoted Sarah Grimke, a 19th-century abolitionist and suffrafette, stating, “I ask no favour of my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” Ginsburg argued her case successfully and this case became a vital decision on the landscape of gender equality. 

Wienberger v. Wisenfeld (1975 )

In this case argued by Ginsberg, the court found for her client Mr. Wisenfeld who was a widower. The court located that sex based distinction in Social Security Advantages does breach the Fifth amendment of the Due Process Clause. The court found unanimously that the function of social safety benefits is to allow the enduring partner to correctly care for the youngsters, no matter the parent's gender.

General Electric Co. c. Gilbert (1976 )

In this case, the court concluded that pregnant women were treated differently from nonpregnant women. While the ACLU's amicus curiae brief affirmed that pregnant women typically sufferered of sex discrimination, the court saw it a different way. Nevertheless, after this, the company proceeded lobbying as well as their initiatives led to a modification to Title VII that developed that pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is considered sex discrimination and is illegal.

Success as a Judge:

Before her time as a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg was refused a clerkship from that very court. While extremely recommended by her Harvard professor for the placement of clerk for the High court, the justices were not prepared to hire women and rejected her entrance. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals where she served up until her visit to the United States Supreme Court in 1993 by President Clinton. Ruth Bader Ginsburg created American history during her time on the court. As a judge, Ginsburg started known as "The Great Dissenter" for her intense dissents from the viewpoints of her fellow high court justices. In talking about her dissents, Ginsburg stated that she hoped some of these would end up becoming law one day. 

Notable Cases from the Bench

USA v. Virginia (1996 )

In 1996, Ginsburg proceeded to defend gender equality under the 14th amendment. Ginsburg composed the majority opinion, a 7-1 ballot that the Virginia Military Institute might no more be an all-male institution. Virginia suggested not only that ladies were not matched for VMI's extensive training, yet likewise that a separate females’ just military program was sufficiently equivalent. The court disagreed. This situation developed a new test for gender discrimination cases.

Olmstead v. LC (1999 )

Some states once allowed people with psychological handicaps to live in their own communities under the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (ADA) Two Georgia ladies were held in isolation for years at a psychological medical facility following their first treatments, also after being clinically approved to move to a more community based setting. The court held that Georgia had actually gone against the community mandate. Ginsburg stated that the outcome of this case stood for the fact that unjustified isolation continues presumptions that persons once in isolation are unable or not worthy of joining community life.

 Stenberg v. Carhart (2000 )

This Nebraska case made it to ensure that under the Fourteenth amendment, a state cannot pass an anti-abortion legislation that does not consist of an exemption for the health of the mother.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (2007 )

Lily Ledbetter sued against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for sex discrimination that caused unequal treatment. While the claim was barred, Ginsburg composed a dissent that the majority's judgment ran out touch with the facts of wage discrimination, missing out on real definition of Title 9, the statutes "broad therapeutic objective" and recommended that the Legislature remedy the Court's reading of Title 9. This dissent led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which changed the Civil Right Act of 1964 to identify when an unlawful work technique happens pertaining to discrimination on the basis of sex. After this Act was passed, Ginsburg recognized that if the Supreme Court majority would not provide the answer and result some hoped for, that the judges in the minority could still persuade Congress to settle this grievance outside of the borders of the courtroom.

Shelby Region v. Holder (2013 )

The court kept in this case that the limitations mandating southern states obtain approval before changing voting needs was dated. Ginsberg declared that "tossing out preclearance when it has actually functioned, resembles throwing out your umbrella in a rainstorm since you are not getting wet.

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015 )

Ginsburg obtained assistance from all the justices on this case with her bottom line argument that extending marital rights to homosexual couples would certainly not damage the establishment of marriage.She argued that all of the incentives and benefits that marriage affords would still be available, therefore nothing was being taken away from heterosexual couples. These couples, she argued, would have the same incentives to marry and benefits from marriage that they currently have. 

Conclusion

In 1999, after her time as a lawyer, judge and High court Justice, Ginsburg obtained the Thurgood Marshall Honor for her contributions to equal rights and civil liberties.

Ginsberg battled cancer throughout her life, and also never ever missed out on a day of oral arguments even while she was undergoing radiation treatment. Ginsberg verified through this journey that she was a force to be reckoned with.

RBG left quite the legacy when she died at the age of 87, September 18, 2020 from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg shaped the lives of modern American women with her progressive opinions. As her profession as a lawyer and also Justice has instructed us, and Ginsburg specified, "Real change, sustaining change, takes place one step at a time."

Resources:

Contact Us Today

Read More Legal News

The National Trial Lawyers White Logo for Footer
© Copyright 2022, All Rights Reserved | National Trial Lawyers
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram