Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up at a time when women were barred from many colleges, careers, financial independence and making their own reproductive choices. We can’t turn back the clock.
As Ruth Bader Ginsburg lay dying from pancreatic cancer, she must have been reflecting very seriously on all that she had accomplished. How she fought for equal rights for women in all aspects of their lives. The right to decide whether or not to bear a child. The right to get a bank loan without their husband’s permission. The right to keep their jobs even when they became pregnant.
And beyond women’s rights, she ruled for LGTBQ rights, minority rights and voting rights in her Supreme Court decisions. She also supported making healthcare affordable to all Americans by ruling in favor of the legality of Obamacare. How deeply frustrating it must have been for the tenacious 87-year-old to be slipping away, knowing that a president who stood against everything she had dedicated her life to, would most likely be in the position to replace her on the highest bench in the land.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she said in a statement that she dictated from her hospital bed to her Harvard Law School graduate granddaughter, Clara Spera. Ginsburg had already fought and beaten pancreatic cancer before, and five bouts of cancer in total, and had planned to serve on the Supreme Court until she was 90, and hopefully outlasting Donald Trump.
Now, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have vowed to confirm a new right wing justice to replace her, who will be committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade. That was the landmark decision which gave American women the right to a legal abortion. Think about it – as far as the ‘Notorious RBG’ brought women’s and minority rights forward, the current president is determined to roll 2020 America back to 1950. Back to a time when women were forced to have illegal and unsafe abortions. Are you ready for that?
Ruth Ginsburg knew that world well. She was just one of nine women in a class of 500 men at Harvard Law School. She was already a young mother at the time and her devoted husband Marty, a fellow law school classmate battled and beat cancer while they were both enrolled. She later transferred and graduated from Columbia Law School, but when she went looking for a job, she was turned down by every big law firm in New York City. Neither could she land a position as a clerk with a Supreme Court justice even though she had been highly recommended by one of her law school professors.
Ginsburg eventually realized that as a female lawyer, at that time, there would be no law firm job. But she didn’t give up. She became a law professor and later was hired by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to be their general counsel. It was at the ACLU that she took on gender discrimination cases and argued that women had to be treated equally before the law, in multiple cases before the Supreme Court. She won five.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her career fighting for American women to be able to make the very most of their lives and not be hindered by discriminatory laws and attitudes. She persisted and battled to give opportunity to each and every one of us to fulfill our dreams. To not have doors slammed in our faces, just because of our gender.
She believed that despite setbacks in the past few years under a conservative Supreme Court – the Voting Right Act being struck down, corporations granted the right to be treated like people and to pour money into elections, and with birth control and abortion rights being chipped away – that progress would continue to go forward. She also supported health care for all, in affirming the legality of the Affordable Care Act.
Now, she is gone with just six weeks until the most consequential election since the Civil War. A week after the election on November 10, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether to end Obamacare and coverage of pre-existing conditions. Will you honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy? Fight for her dreams as she fought for ours?
If you want to protect your hard-earned rights, vote as if your life depended on it – it may. Vote for the Senate, vote for the House, vote for your state legislatures and vote for the president. Vote, for Ruth.
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