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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Pillar of Justice

She had a voice, and she amplified it, had a logic, and used it. She had a passion for justice and equality, and she displayed it. She committed to human dignity, and she fought for it until her last breath. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2018) served the U.S. justice in a long career as an attorney, professor, advocate of gender equality, and, ultimately, a Supreme Court Justice.

Born to a Ukrainian immigrant father and New York-born mother, Ginsburg was the second of the two daughters. Her mom wanted her to be a history teacher. Still, the mother's death before her high school graduation led to a different path that not only changed her life but the lives of millions who earned for gender equality, justice, and human dignity. She went to law school after the birth of her daughter and faced discrimination based on gender. Several times the faculty or the judges rejected her. At Harvard school of law, one professor told her, "what are you doing in law school, and why are you wasting a man's seat in the class."

As an attorney, she advocated gender equality. She fought for equality in wages, and she also fought for a father's right to receive the pension of his deceased wife for taking care of their children. She challenged the military norms to hire men only, and she challenged an Oklahoma statute that set different minimum drinking ages for men and women.

In the country's judicial history, the court imposed intermediate scrutiny on laws discriminating based on gender. At her intervention, the court changed the validity of voluntary jury duty for women on the ground that that participation was a citizen's vital governmental service and not optional for women.

In law, she built cautiously on precedent rather than pushing the Constitution towards her vision. Ginsburg advocated using foreign law and norms to shape U.S. law in judicial opinions, which many of her conservative colleagues rejected. She believed that wisdom is not the monopoly of the U.S. only.

Clinton nominated her as Supreme Court Justice in 1993. From August 10, 1993, until September 18, this popular iconic served as a reason and justice voice. Her service will remind the coming generation that nothing can prevent them from rising to the top and changing the world.

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