Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Laura Shaw, Political Editor

 

As I stood in front of the Supreme Court looking up at the casket of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I needed a moment. 

When I first heard the news about her death five days earlier, I was scared to think what this meant for our country. It was hard to separate everything that she accomplished in her life from the possibilities of what could happen in her absence. 

But then I got up at 4 a.m., caught a flight to D.C waited two hours, and came to my senses.

When most people talk about their heroes they include their favorite athlete or musician or maybe even a family member, but for me it was Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  RBG stood for almost everything that was important to me: a woman’s right to choose, workplace equality, the wage gap, LGBTQ+ marriage and so much more. She represented just what a woman with big dreams could achieve. Everything she did helped pave the way for my dream of working inside the political system, and further paving the way for women in politics.

I first started to really admire Ginsburg at the age of 12. While most girls my age looked up to Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez, I was reading up on female leaders and planning how I would follow in their footsteps. I was introduced to Ginsburg by my mom and learned how important she was to me if I were to pursue a career in politics, something I have been considering for years. 

And I didn’t truly remember this until I was standing in front of her casket. I had been so focused with the panic and impact of her death that I had almost completely forgotten why it really meant so much.

The casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the steps of the Supreme Court. (photo by Laura Shaw)

Unfortunately, the power of her life is what makes the politicization of her death hurt even more.

Republicans didn’t even wait an hour to announce that they would start appointment proceedings while Democrats capitalized on the fact that her dying wish was to wait for the next president to fill the seat. 

Although the timing of her death is very inconvenient, as a nation we are disregarding the strides Ginsburg took throughout her life to pave the way for women and minorities everywhere.  She has been made just another pawn in the game that is politics, both sides of the spectrum using her death to further their agendas instead of acknowledging her life and accomplishments. 

Ginsburg was more than just a seat to fill. She fought until her last breath to protect women’s and minority rights. Ginsburg paved the way for the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act which allowed women to independently apply for credit cards and mortgages, where previously you had to have a male co-signer.

She was also a very important vote in the 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed the LGBTQ community the right to same-sex marriages in all 50 states. The case ended in a 5-4 ruling.

And these are only a few of the cases she weighed in on in her nearly three-decade-long career as a justice. She leaves an impressive reputation behind and we cannot let her memory be clouded by the arguments from across the political aisle.

I do hope that whoever succeeds Ginsburg would be someone to continue her fight for equality, but whoever replaces her will never diminish her legacy, a legacy that anyone can look up to. 

Thank you, Ruth.

Flowers and letters in memory of RBG. (photo by Laura Shaw)
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