IN MEMORY of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court justice who first rose to national prominence as an ACLU lawyer fighting for equal rights for women, has died at 87 years old.
She began Harvard Law School as a young mother and one of only nine women in her class, and became the architect of a legal strategy to eradicate gender discrimination in the United States. She modeled her approach after that of Thurgood Marshall on race discrimination, planning for a series of cases at the Supreme Court, each precedent paving the way for the next that would further expand rights and protections. In 1993, she joined the court as an associate justice, and over the decades became a cultural icon beloved for her vision and passion in defending the rights of women.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn in 1933 to Jewish parents with roots in Eastern Europe. Her mother Celia, who died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school, instilled in her a sense of independence and a love of learning. She went on to Cornell University, where at 17, she met her future husband, Martin Ginsburg. They married after graduation, and soon had a daughter, Jane.
Ginsburg attended Harvard Law School, where women were barred from living in the dorms and from using certain campus facilities. When the dean hosted a dinner for the first-year women, Ginsburg recalled, “He asked each of us to stand up and tell him what we were doing taking a seat that could be occupied by a man.” CLICK TO CONTINUE
As I write you this message, I’m struggling for the words to describe what this woman has meant not only to our movement but to the world. But I’ll say this:
Justice Ginsburg was a force who carried the weight of the unheard and overlooked on her shoulders.
She broke down every wall that stood in her way and in the way of all women. She fought fiercely for reproductive freedom, including safe, legal abortion — always holding the line. She lifted up communities of color from the margins and put them front and center. She protected the LGBTQ+ community because she understood that every person deserves the right to love.
And for 27 years, longer than any other woman on the Supreme Court, she never once wavered in her determination to protect the rights and freedoms of every single person in this country.
Tonight we honor her legacy; tomorrow we fight to protect it. We must approach the coming weeks and months as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.
Until her last breath, she fought for what was right. She fought for us all.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a proud Jewish woman. That she died on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, in the most tumultuous year in memory, seems particularly significant.
There is a Jewish saying when someone dies: “May their memory be a blessing.”
Thank you, RBG.
May her memory be a blessing. May her legacy be a movement. DONATE HERE
Alexis McGill Johnson, President
Planned Parenthood Action Fund