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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Adithi Mohan

24th September 2020

US Supreme Court Justice dies at age 87 (Source: Reuters)

The draped coffin of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reached the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The coffin laid in state as thousands of members of the public paid their last respect to the stalwart and champion of women’s rights. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, passed away at the age of 87, at her home in Washington DC due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited the casket of Ginsburg. President Trump’s decision to move quickly on replacing her seat two months before the election has drawn tense battle lines between the Republicans and Democrats — his third Supreme Court nominations if he succeeds.

A top graduate from Columbia and Harvard Law School, Ginsburg, being a woman and a mother of two had to overcome numerous obstacles in every step of her career, during which she went on to shape and mold the future of women in the USA for generations to come. Ginsburg’s first employment was that of a professor in Rutgers Law School, where she faced discrimination in her pay. At the start of her career in law as well, she faced rejection for a position of clerkship due to her gender.

Nominated and appointed by the ththen-Presidenten President Bill Clinton in the year 1993, she was one among only three women in the Nine Supreme Court Justices. A lawyer for the American Civils Liberties Union, Ginsburg has battled many cases that have led to equal pay and abortion rights for women, among many others. Notable cases include United States vs Virginia, which was a breakthrough for women’s rights as it ended the Virginia Military Institute’s men-only admission policy. Some of the other notable cases include Olmstead v. L.C, 1999, and Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 2016.

Ginsburg was a liberal presence in the Supreme Court, whose worked impacted not just women, but minority communities throughout the US. In 2013, an important part of the Federal Law (Voting Rights Act 1965) was attacked by the court that ensured voting rights to Hispanics, Black, and minorities, Ginsburg’s dissent read, “(It is) like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” Co-founder of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civils Liberties Union, Ginsberg has fought numerous cases that have left a footprint of a champion behind.

Ginsburg fought a long battle with pancreatic cancer. This was her fifth fight with cancer, to which she passed away on September 18. Ruth’s work gave feminism new roots, in what was, a largely conservative country. Ginsburg undoubtedly excelled in a largely ‘male’ field and she used her position to influence positive change and better the lives of people. 

Sources: The Times of India, New York Times, NPR

Edited by Varun Paleli Vasudevan

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