By Alexandra Touliatos
Photo courtesy of Ansley Skipper.
On Sept. 18, America lost Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to metastatic pancreatic cancer. After a 50-year legal career fighting gender discrimination and 27 years on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg earned her place in American history as a feminist icon as she advocated for women and marginalized people across the country.
Without Ginsburg’s decades of work, women would not be where they are today. Long before she became the second female Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg argued and won five landmark Supreme Court cases in her work with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. Those cases established the standard for equal treatment under law of men and women.
While Ginsburg is known to have advocated for female rights, she protected the interests of men and women alike. Ginsburg believed that equality and freedom were universal values to be enjoyed by all Americans regardless of gender.
“Her first big case before the Supreme Court was to protect the equal rights of her male client,” said Dr. Ray, St. Mary’s U.S. Government teacher.
Ginsburg was just as resilient in her personal life as she was in the courtroom as she battled constant personal struggles like her mother’s death, her husband’s diagnosis with cancer, and balancing motherhood and her career.
“Regardless of one's political leanings, I think all of us, and St. Mary's students in particular, have her to thank for her relentless quest in moving the needle and leading the effort to consider women in the legal protections of the 14th Amendment,” said Dr. Lyon.
As St. Mary’s girls, we enjoy not only a quality education - a privilege not always afforded to women - but also learning alongside other passionate and talented young women, some of whom could be the Ginsburgs of our generation.
Ginsburg devoted her life to teaching us to fight for not only our own rights but also for the rights of all people.
Jessica Joshi (12), co-president of the St. Mary’s chapter of I Am That Girl, said, “[She] serves as a reminder that the voices of people of all races and genders deserve to be heard.”
Kate Kiameh (12), co-president of I Am That Girl, said, “[The] fight for justice and equal rights was never meant to be done by one person.”
It is our obligation to continue Ginsburg’s legacy.
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