The Life and Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Notorious RBG: The Legacy of a US Supreme Court Justice and Cultural Icon


Credit: Hadley Chapman

Mrs. Schmidt memorializes Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the library with one of her Biographies and the following quote: “Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true”.

History-making US Supreme Court Associate Justice and feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 on September 18th, 2020.

Ginsburg struggled against sexism throughout her career, her advocacy for gender equality eventually earning her a spot as Justice on the Supreme Court. As she grew older, she did not let up. Though she was often in the minority as the Court became more conservative over her tenure, her strongly-worded dissents allowed her to continue to be influential, all the while battling cancer four times.

She eventually became an internet sensation, earning the nickname “The Notorious RBG”, a moniker coined by law student Shana Knizhnik, which was a play on the name of the famous Brooklyn-born rapper, the Notorious B.I.G.

Ginsburg inadvertently earned late-life stardom and became a cultural heroine through her sharp wit, legal knowledge, and her fierce dissents. With hit documentary film “On the Basis of Sex” and documentary “RBG” coming out in 2018, she has forged connections with a much younger generation.

Despite barely being 5 feet tall, Ginsburg leaves an impact on many generations of women to come with her court rulings. Her goal was to free both sexes, men as well as women, from the roles that society had assigned them. She did this by harnessing the Constitution to break down the structures that maintained these roles. The fight for financial equality was at the core of Ginsurg’s work.

American women do not have to ask their fathers or husbands to manage their finances, property, or health because of Justice Ginsburg’s work. When Ginsburg was hired to teach at Rutgers University Law School, she was told she would be paid less than her male colleagues because of her husband’s income. She and her other female colleagues later filed a federal discrimination case against the University and won.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has given our generation a body of work to continue the pursuit for equality no matter the gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. “Notorious” in life, death, and legacy, the nation has lost a remarkable woman, and many like myself have lost a childhood hero. Thank you RBG.