TRAILBLAZER THURSDAY: Ruth Bader Ginsberg
We have highlighted many we believe to be some of the most fearless women, but now we would like to take the time to talk about a woman who could arguably be the original badass trailblazer and supermom, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has served as a Supreme Court Justice since 1993 when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in a rather controversial nomination, even though the final vote was ninety-six to three by the Senate, with only one abstention. She is only the second of four female justices to be confirmed to the court.
This nomination she had to campaign for was not Ginsburg’s first battle; she had been fighting all her life. Born in 1933, she earned her bachelor's degree at Cornell University and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. While studying for her diploma she was also raising her daughter Jane, who was four years old when Ginsburg crossed the stage and received her law degree, and she was caring for her husband Martin who was battling testicular cancer. She went so far as to take on some of his coursework in addition to hers while he was trying to manage chemotherapy and classes. Talk about a super mom!
Ginsburg has also been a part of numerous anti-discrimination cases, including Reed v. Reed in 1971, which dealt with the unequal administration of estates to men and women in Idaho. She was an advocate for the equal-protection clause and has been fighting to make sure there is no discrimination on the basis of sex, which is also the title of the new film starring Felicity Jones as Ginsburg. This film tells the story of her fight and groundbreaking work in gender discrimination in the American Judicial System.
Ginsburg also does not quit. Monday, January 7th, she missed her first Supreme Court Oral Arguments in her 25 years on the bench as the result of a surgery she underwent in December to remove two cancerous growths from her lung. She had two other cancer-related surgeries in 1999 and in 2009 for pancreatic cancer, but she is here for the long run and has already hired clerks for the term that extends into 2020 which shows she has no intention of leaving her position.
When we say Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a superhero, we mean it both metaphorically and legitimately. She has received more positive attention than any other Supreme Court justice, and those in this role are known for staying out of the spotlight more than anything. She has been turned into a comic-book superhero, has goats named after her, and has been featured in a Saturday Night Live skit and on Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show”. She does not shy from the public eye and embraces her role as a pop-culture icon. She shows other feminists that with drive and motivation, you can achieve what you set your mind to. She has been influencing women for generations and will continue to for as long as she possibly can.