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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice
Supreme Court Justices Pose For "Class Photo"

Talk about the ultimate groundbreaking woman. For the first time ever, we’re including an in memoriam entry on our Groundbreakers list to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late Supreme Court justice and feminist icon who passed away last year at 87. As the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993, Ginsburg was known for her pointed and powerful dissenting opinions and her commitment to ensuring that marginalized groups received justice.

However, her influence extends way beyond her 27 years on the Supreme Court bench; from the very beginning of her legal career, Ginsburg was a staunch supporter of equal rights for all, fighting to end the gender discrimination that she had experienced in law school and as a young, female litigator. From 1973 to 1978, Ginsburg presented six cases to the Supreme Court, winning five, to persuade the court that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied not only to racial discrimination but to sex discrimination as well. Because of RGB’s tireless work, employers cannot legally discriminate against employees based on gender or reproductive choices; state schools must admit women; women have the right to financial independence and equal benefits under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act; men are entitled to the same caregiving and Social Security rights as women; and juries must include women.

As Dahlia Lithwick wrote in a 2019 article for The Atlantic: “Today, more than ever, women starved for models of female influence, authenticity, dignity and voice hold up an octogenarian justice as the embodiment of hope for an empowered future.”

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