On Sept. 18, 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at her home in Washington D.C. surrounded by loved ones.
Ginsburg served as a Supreme Court Justice since her appointment in 1993. She became a progressive icon and influenced everything from “Saturday Night Live” skits to human rights marches. She also left a powerful legacy with decisive rulings such as United States v. Virginia, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and Bush v. Gore.
Now, after her death, many of these rulings are up for review, and the new rulings could affect the lives of many Americans.
Colin Moore, an assistant professor at Salt Lake Community College, received his doctorate in political science from University of California at Irvine. He recalls Ginsberg’s career from law school through her death.
“RBG graduated first in her class [from] Columbia Law School. After her graduation, Ginsburg went out to the world and experienced job discrimination,” Moore said. “Ginsburg then taught at Columbia Law School starting in the year 1972 … she was nominated in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Here, she argued six key cases for gender equality, convincing the court on five of them. Ginsburg was the second woman to be seated at the Supreme Court. Here, she helped to make the Supreme Court more friendly to women’s rights.”
Ginsburg lived an eventful life, and Moore believes it’s a life that won’t soon be forgotten.
Debate rages on regarding the Supreme Court justice nomination process and who should lead it during an election year. President Donald Trump fulfilled his constitutional obligation Sept. 26 when he nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg.
CNN called Barrett’s nomination “a first step … toward solidifying a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court.”
“Although the Supreme Court doesn’t always divide between conservative and liberal, sometimes it will,” Moore said. “Cases that could be threatened include Roe v. Wade, same-sex marriage, reproductive rights and cases concerning climate change.”
Khrystine Kelsey, who teaches in the Humanities department at SLCC, says Ginsburg has been a role model to many.
“I want to be careful not to heroize or villainize anyone, but honestly I view her as a hero. She did so much for not just women but for everyone,” Kelsey said. “I get sadder the more I hear about her death. I don’t know the impact of her death yet. Obviously, we will have a new justice that will change things, but I really hope her life can inspire everyone.”
Some students, like Mckay Cox, however, thinks Ginsburg’s impact shouldn’t delay her replacement on the court.
“She was a good lady,” Cox said. “She did a lot. If I were Donald Trump, [though], I would assign someone new.”
Whether voters support the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice before or after the Nov. 3 election, Ginsburg’s life is one to remember and learn from. As Ginsburg once said, “we are a nation made strong by people like you.”