Legendary New Yorker: Ruth Bader Ginsberg

“And when people ask me, ‘What do you have in common with the Notorious BIG?’ I say, ‘We have one thing clear in common, and that is we were born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.”

Throughout her career, Ruth Bader Ginsberg has embodied the strength and tenacity that is central to the New York spirit. Despite various obstacles including immense sexism from the male-dominated world of government and law, she achieved one of the highest positions in the US judiciary system and became a leading defendant for gender equality. One can only imagine the scornful eyes and hateful remarks that Ginsberg had to experience while pursuing her education and career during the 1950s and 60s. Who else but a New Yorker could’ve accomplished that?

Like any other legendary New Yorker, Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a cultural trendsetter who shaped the way women are viewed today. Her nickname, Notorious RBG, is a testament to her influence not only on American legislation but also in American pop culture.

Here we celebrate just some of the iconic quotes and moments from this legendary New Yorker’s life.

“Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”

Photo courtesy of Columbia Alumni Association

Long before her role as a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was already making incredible strides as a female law student. She persevered through sexist discrimination and personal obstacles, including her husband’s cancer. Ginsburg not only attended some of the most elite schools in the country but she also managed to be at top of each over classes.

After her time as a student, Ginsburg continued to contribute to law education as an educator at both Rutgers School of Law and Columbia Law. She was even the first female professor to receive tenure at Columbia!

Through the act of getting an education and entering into the field of law and government, Ginsburg demonstrated early on that intellect and strength was without gender. She became a real example that told women, “This is possible!”

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies
Photo courtesy of AARP

From her work with the ACLU to her work as a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg consistently proved herself to be an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Her moderate, incremental style proved to be powerful as she made efforts towards equal pay and reproductive rights. In the 70s, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project with ACLU and helped bring six cases of gender discrimination before the Supreme Court. In the 80s, she was appointed by Jimmy Carter to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. When she became a Justice in 1993, her involvement with pivotal cases, like United States v. Virginia and Ledbetter v. Goodyear, progressed women’s rights to new heights.

“I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

Don't Miss the New Ruth Bader Ginsburg Documentary
Photo courtesy of Oprah.com

For those of a younger generation, Ruth Bader Ginsburg may mostly be associated with her current image as an elderly woman. But don’t let appearances or age deceive you! Throughout her life, Ginsburg regularly demonstrated incredible intellectual and physical strength.

Her intense workout routine which she publicly shared surprised many and even became a topic during her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.”

Was the Women’s March just another display of white ...
Photo courtesy of Washington Post

Her recent death in September 18th was indeed tragic and many who looked up to her are devastated by the loss. However, one can take comfort in knowing that her legacy will always live on.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spirit lives on with each young woman who chooses to study law and participate in government. As the feminist movement continues to grow, we can be grateful for Ginsburg’s influence on not only the country’s laws but also on the cultural perception of women and women’s work.

Cover image by https://www.instagram.com/badgirlart/


About author


Danielle Im is an undergraduate at Rutgers University studying Art History and Environmental Studies.
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