Until There Are Nine

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was notorious for her persistent fight to advocate for women, but her legacy goes beyond the work she accomplished as a Supreme Court justice, and she was not always esteemed for her fierce determination. As a student at Harvard Law School, she was criticized for “taking a man’s place,” even though she ended up tying for first in her class. Many women in the US are currently struggling to work from home while managing their children’s schoolwork. The Notorious RBG was no stranger to this dilemma. When her husband was diagnosed with cancer while they were both in law school, she took all of his notes and typed all of his papers in addition to her own, all while taking care of her newborn daughter. She faced discrimination in the workplace and had a hard time finding a job, but once she got started, she was on a roll.

Ginsburg, like most women, was also scrutinized for her personality. She was too serious, too forgiving. Too progressive, not progressive enough. Her appointment was eventually supported by feminists, but some gawked at her close friendship with the late conservative justice Antonin Scalia. Their relationship served as a reminder to the country that relationships can transcend political boundaries. They frequently traveled together, attending operas and riding elephants. However, his views did not bleed into hers, and she went on to become the leading liberal justice on the Supreme Court.

She was an expert of making the most of what she had. As a frequent member of the minority vote in the Supreme Court, she made history for her eloquent dissents, some of which eventually inspired new laws. Some of the highlights of her legacy precede her time in the Supreme Court. She co-founded the Women’s Rights wing of the American Civil Liberties Union, became the first tenured female law professor at Columbia, and co-founded the first women’s rights law journal, all during the 1970s, when most boardrooms had no room for women. In her later years, she became a pop icon, inspiring teens to become politically involved as she demonstrated her workout routine on late night television.

Ginsburg inspired men and women both through her actions and her words. As the second woman to ever be nominated to the US Supreme Court, she knew that it would take serious work for women to be effectively represented.

“When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Although she is no longer with us, her story is not over. Her work continues to inspire efforts toward representation and equal pay. She persisted, and we must continue to persist.

2 thoughts on “Until There Are Nine

  1. Thank you so much for writing this article. It is so important that we keep the acts/efforts/contributions Ruth made for the benefit & inclusion of women alive. When you speak of the 1970’s & what Ruth did for women many don’t realize Thanks to

    Ruth in 1974, the year I graduated from high school, the equal opportunity credit act was passed and without a man’s signature (ie permission) we became able to open bank accounts/get credit cards/get mortgages all on our own.

    Later, when some states precluded women on juries citing their value was in the home, Ruth responded by saying , “women belonged everywhere decisions were being made”.

    In 2007, when Lily Ledbetter, only upon retirement, found her male manger counterparts were receiving higher social security checks as they’d been paid more throughout their careers with Goodyear in Alabama, but was precluded from recovering by lawsuit as the time to sue had “expired” although she had no way of knowing of this discrepancy during the allowed time to file suit, Ruth pushed against her 5 Supreme Court Justices who ruled against Lilly’s suit to allow for filing for pay discrimination. With Ruth’s further backing, the Lilly Ledbetter law expanding the time frame to file suit for pay discrimination was the 1st law Pres. Obama signed in upon becoming president.

    As money is a large part of power structures, Ruth has done the most for women in increasing our power.

    As a result, for me it would be most fitting for ALL women to push for Ruth to be eternally remembered and rewarded for her fight to give women equal access to money & the use of it, the power it provides to push to have her face placed on money itself!

  2. Absolutely amazing and I agree we all are “standing on the shoulders of those who have paved the way for us”: “injustice anywhere is a threat to us who all who are gueienelly gifted anywhere.” We are all meant to shine and leave our great God-given greatness to/with the world. And once we become liberated from our own: fears, doubts, insecurities our presence either: intimidate or liberates others “.

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