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November 06, 2020 Feature

Farewell for Now: A Tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–2020)

Judge J. Michelle Childs

As we celebrate the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we are given the opportunity to reflect on her indelible legacy.

A lawyer, professor, scholar, champion of civil rights, and esteemed jurist, Justice Ginsburg led this country on a historic path toward “Equal Justice Under Law.” She exalted the Constitution of the United States as a shining paradigm for civics education, imploring that all persons be treated equally and insisting that “We the People” includes all populations in our society. She penned fierce dissents, demonstrating how the role of an individual jurist could be emboldened through consensus building on the long road to justice. And though her heart was most impassioned in articulating her demand for gender equality, she composed complex and enduring jurisprudence in such areas as civil procedure, education, disability rights, voting, health care, discrimination, and criminal law. Throughout her storied career, Justice Ginsburg used her brilliant intellect and measured temperament to expand rights and protections that positively impacted the lives of all Americans.

As a woman of many firsts, she assured she would not be the last. Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly in her perseverance to defy notions that a devoted wife and mother could not equally excel as a prudent and scholarly legal mind. While she will be forever hailed as many things—American hero, fearless advocate, difference maker, and judicial luminary—she will be most affectionately remembered as the truly “Notorious RBG.” We all have Justice Ginsburg to thank for many of the hopes and dreams made available to our daughters and granddaughters.

The world grieves at the passing of such a remarkable jurist, and we are left wishing and wanting for even more from Justice Ginsburg. But in this year of the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment of women’s suffrage, we will continue to celebrate her life and instill her legacy in future generations.

May we honor and respect her. May she rest in peace.

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Judge J. Michelle Childs