Feminist Icon Justice Ginsburg Passed Away at 87

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A history-making jurist and a feminist icon, Justice Ginsburg passed away at 87 on the 19th of September at her residence.

For the past two months, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver. She had five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999. The falls that resulted in broken ribs added to her health issues. In addition, the insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery after she turned 75 made her weak. She died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.


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Ginsburg authored powerful dissents of her own in cases involving abortion, voting rights, and pay discrimination against women. Change on the court hit Ginsburg especially hard. She dissented forcefully from the court’s decision in 2007 to uphold a nationwide ban on an abortion procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion.

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Despite maintaining a modest public profile, like most top judges, Ginsburg inadvertently became not just a celebrity, but a pop-culture heroine. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the “Notorious RBG”, for her defense of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.

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Image Source: Google

A documentary titled RBG was streamed on Netflix showing the unprecedented legal battles faced by Ginsburg.

She argued six key cases before the court in the 1970s when she was an architect of the women’s rights movement. She won five. In the court, Ginsburg’s most significant majority opinion was the 1996 ruling on the Virginia Military Institute to accept women or give up its state funding.


A rule-abider and an expert in digging deep into case records, Ginsburg spent most of her life in intellectual arguments behind big-rimmed glasses.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not need a seat on the Supreme Court to earn her place in the American history books. She has already done that.”

— Former US President Bill Clinton

Besides civil rights, Ginsburg’s involvement in capital punishment limited its use. During her tenure, it was made unconstitutional for states to execute the intellectually disabled and killers younger than the age of 18.

In addition, she questioned the quality of lawyers for poor accused murderers. In the most divisive of cases, including the Bush VS. Gore decision in 2000, she was often at odds with the court’s more conservative members.

She was perhaps personally closest to the court to Justice Antonin Scalia, her ideological opposite. “How am I going to answer this in a way that’s a real put-down?” she said.

“Hope springs eternal and when I am writing a dissent, I’m always hoping for a fifth or sixth vote — even though I’m disappointed more often than not.” (Image Source: Google)


Ginsberg’s death just over a month-and-a-half before the D-Day is likely to set off a heated battle.

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Himanshi Dhawan
Likes to do MUNs and speedcubing. A Shutterbug. Capable of sniffing an Atlas 24x7.

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