Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Life and Legacy

Avani Lakkireddy
Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be remembered for her passion to uphold integrity and virtue in the American legal system.
Ginsburg served on the bench of the Supreme Court from her appointment in 1993 to her death in 2020. Throughout her 27 years, Ginsburg has made a point to stand for various minorities, but her loyalty to justice started much earlier in her career. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, on March 15, 1933. Her work in law, however, did not start until her time at Cornell University, where she received a BA and an admission into Harvard Law School. She also met Martin Ginsburg, who she would marry in 1954, as an undergraduate student at Cornell. After her time at both Harvard and Columbia Law Schools, she became a clerk at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

From this position, she slowly rose through the ranks of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), where she was introduced as general counsel. Here, she won some of her most landmark cases in her fight for gender equality. Her first case as the head of ACLU’s Women's Rights Division was Frontiero vs. Richardson; Sharon Frontiero was an air force pilot, whose husband, Richard did not receive the benefits usually issued to wives of male air force pilots. In a striking, yet efficient argument, Ginsburg won her very first case, overturning the antiquated rule that military wellness depended on sex.  

Another famous case was the Weisenberg vs. Weisenfeld case, where Stephen Weisenberg was prohibited from receiving social security benefits after his wife, the main source of income, had died. She took the case and won, changing social security rules across the country. 

In a male dominated field, Ginsburg saw the importance of taking cases where men were discriminated against, showing the harmful effects of prejudice for everyone. Aryeh Nair, the executive director of the ACLU, said that, “Ruth was careful to build [her case] brick by brick. She wasn’t interested in reaching the roof right away.”

This patience eventually led to her nomination as a Supreme Court Justice by President Bill Clinton. Her 1993 appointment was almost unanimous, with the final tally being 96 senators in favor versus only 3 opposing. 

Her battle for gender equality continued in her time on the bench, where she wrote the decision for United States vs. Virginia, where she ended the male-only admission policy to the Virginia Military Institute on the basis of the 14th amendment. This case set a precedent for hundreds of others in courts around the world. Another hallmark of her career was the Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire Company decision. Lily Ledbetter accused the company of discrimination after learning that her male counterparts made more money for an equal amount of work. The Supreme Court sided with the defendant, but Ginsburg urged Congress to do something, saying that “the ball is now in Congress’s court.” A few years later, President Obama passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Even more important than her success in dismantling gender inequality in the US, was her fiery, generous character. Her life was spent fighting for the numerous noble causes, only through the kindness of her heart. In her last years, many described Ginsburg as frail and weak, yet she continued to be fervent and well-spoken in her decisions and dissents. Her noble fight to limit discrimination in the US is an inspiration to not only women but all who call the United States their home. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will truly be missed.


B-Line students write articles that capture what it means to be part of the Barstow community, and record, review and analyze current events.

B-Line's origins date back to 1897, when students published "The School Paper," from Barstow's Quality Hill campus. It was published under various names in following decades, including "The Cornpatch," when Barstow moved to State Line in 1961. Today, B-Line is primarily a digital publication.
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  • Editors & Writers

    Avani Lakkireddy
    Quinn Luce
    Vineeth Mothe
    Charlotte Park
    Amrit Siam
    Finnian Waldron