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By Dr. Kandis Boyd Wyatt
Faculty Member, Transportation and Logistics, American Military University
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, passed away on Sept. 17, due to complications from cancer. She was 87 years old. Her death is a huge loss for America.
Justice Ginsburg devoted her life to expanding human rights. She built bridges. She had a brilliant, strong voice and she respected strong voices in others. As a mother, wife, advocate, pioneer and trailblazer, she was the epitome of the feminist movement.
Born in 1933, she served for 27 years on the nation’s highest court and became known for her revolutionary approach to enhancing women’s rights. Her tenacity, work ethic and outlook were unmatched. The country has rightfully paused to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of this architect of a new way of feminist thinking.
Notorious RBG, the Thurgood Marshall of the Women’s Rights Movement
Affectionately called the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s rights movement, she was nicknamed Notorious RBG, after rapper Notorious B.I.G. Both the rapper and the Supreme Court Justice had many similarities: Both were storytellers who spoke about the status of America with unbridled realism. Both come from humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York, and both are considered among the greatest of their times to ”hypnotize” the world.
“Biggie Biggie Biggie can’t you see
Sometimes your words just hypnotize me”— Notorious B.I.G.
RBG also spoke about the power of words and when to use them. Writing in a New York Times op-ed article, she recalled the advice — often credited to her afterward — given to her by her mother-in-law soon after her marriage to fellow lawyer Marty Ginsburg. She said, “It pays to be a little deaf sometimes.”
She Was Denied a Clerkship on the Supreme Court Because She Was a Woman
Justice Ginsburg will be remembered for a plethora of reasons, pro-voting rights and women’s rights especially. Ironically, early in her law career, Ginsburg was denied a clerkship at the Supreme Court because she was a woman.
Later, however, she successfully argued several women’s equality cases before the Court. She served as a law professor and federal judge before being appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, making her the second woman on the Court after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Justice Ginsburg found a voice in writing dissenting opinions and contributing to many landmark cases. She believed the Constitution gave women stronger rights, and her legal wins made it easier to sue for sex discrimination. She also argued for equal pay for women, a revolutionary idea in the realm of gender equality.
A few days prior to her death, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Justice Ginsburg’s Death Marks the End of an Era with the Nation in Uncharted Waters
The passing of Justice Ginsburg marks the end of an era. The future is unwritten, and the nation is in unchartered territory. On Sept. 28, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ginsburg. It’s debatable if Barrett can be installed before the new session begins, so the eight justices will make decisions until the ninth judge is appointed and confirmed by the Senate.
But with the opening of a new Supreme Court session just weeks away, Chief Justice John G. Roberts will no longer be the swing vote in closely contested cases. In the meantime, we honor the inspiring legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
About the Author
Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, PMP, is a professor at American Military University and has 20 years of experience managing projects that specialize in supply chain management. She holds a B.S. in meteorology and an M.S. in meteorology and water resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in public administration from Nova Southeastern University.
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