Breaking: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87



Katie Jain, Online Editor in Chief

On Friday September 18, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at age 87 due to complications with cancer. She died in Washington D.C. surrounded by her family. 

Ginsburg graduated first in her class from Columbia Law in 1959, after serving as the first female member of the Harvard Law Review as well as a member of Columbia Law Review. She faced significant discrimination both in school and in the workforce, yet continued to push and champion for women’s rights. She proceeded to clerk, teach, and direct the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU before serving in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia between 1980 and 1993. She then was nominated by Bill Clinton for the United States Supreme Court, where she stayed until her death. 

As a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg continued to fight for women and human rights, from fighting male-only admission policies in 1996 to ruling in favor of same-sex marriage in 2015. She fought against the gender wage gap, for voter rights for vulnerable communities, and to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, she voted to strike down a ruling that would add strict restrictions to abortion providers. Upper School History Teacher Ms. Santangelo noted, “She advanced the rights of women and a view of humanity before the law that brought the nation closer to realizing its goal of a more perfect union.” Famous for her dissenting opinions on the Court, Ginsburg has become a symbol of the fight for justice and equality. 

“Every time I look at my wedding ring, knowing that RBG helped to make it possible for people like me to marry the man I love, I feel profound love and gratitude,” said Upper School History Teacher Mr. Hunt.

Even after death, Ginsburg continues to represent a fight for what she believed in. Days before she passed away, Ginsburg told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Her vacancy on the Supreme Court has prompted political controversy over who will fill her seat and whether or not President Trump will be able to nominate and pass a Justice through the Republican-led senate before Inauguration Day. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have already suggested that they will aim to fill Ginsburg’s seat as soon as possible, while Democratic leaders have argued that Trump and the Senate should wait until after the November 3 Election. If he is successful, though, Trump will have put three Justices on the Supreme Court in four years. 

Beyond its political implications, though, Ginsburg’s death struck many, both in the Supreme Court and beyond. Head of Upper School Mr. Rhodes emphasized, “Regardless of how you view her judicial philosophy, you must respect her strength, determination and compassion.  I am sad that her death may be overshadowed by partisan debate.”

She served our Court and country with consummate dedication, tirelessness, and passion for justice. She has left a legacy few could rival,” said Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. 

Senior Holly Teti shared these sentiments, noting that, “One of my favorite books is Justice Ginsberg’s memoir, My Own Words. I read it a few summers ago, and I was struck by how dedicated she was to what she did, even in her 8th grade newspaper she wrote about global politics. That has inspired so much of my high school experience, which has been fully dedicated to learning and taking advantage of everything PDS has to offer.  Ruth taught me that there is value in being a smart girl.” Senior Brooke Littman added, “I am still heartbroken over her passing. No matter your political beliefs or standing she touched everybody’s lives and made this world a better place.”

As Ms. Santangelo put it, “What a beautiful soul and a powerhouse icon RBG is for all of us.”