RBG, much more than an icon

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When has changed what a country is like for women and ultimately for everyone, when the equality and the Justice vital beacon, no wonder superlatives are used. That’s what he did Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first from the classroom and the legal profession and then from the courts, including 27 years as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. And that is why since her death on Friday the country mourns the disappearance of a “feminist icon“, a “progressive giant“, a “pioneer“, “the great equalizer“, “Titan” and “heroinAnd although his death opens a dark political war, his legacy shines.

On the most recent membrane of memory is tattooed the popular icon status which reached already octogenarian, when a law student baptized her ‘Notorious RBG’, with echoes of a rapper born in Brooklyn, same as the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants in 1933. That nickname came just after Bader Ginsburg issued one of his famous High Court dissents in 2013, questioning the majority for removing protections from the voting rights law. “It’s like getting rid of your umbrella in a storm because you are not getting wet,” denounced the judge, who added an important addition to the famous Martin Luther King maxim that “the arc of history ends up leaning towards justice” : “if there is a firm commitment to see that the task is completed. “

Improbable paths

Hers for achieving gender equality was unwavering. And a success, reaped by a physically small but intellectually giant woman who passed through Cornell y Harvard before graduating from Columbia, who as a woman suffered discrimination in her own flesh, who lived a powerful love story with her husband and had two children and that as a lawyer traveled and opened improbable paths and broke the patterns of paternalism towards the women with whom the Constitution had been interpreted.

In 1971, as a lawyer, she achieved a monumental victory when the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the amendment 14 that guarantees equal protection under the law It should not only be applied as a matter of race but also of gender. And it would be the first of a series of victories with which the First Director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties UnionBy primarily defending men’s cases, he demonstrated to a male-dominated judiciary the general effects of discrimination and succeeded in getting the laws changed.

Evolution in the judiciary

Moderate progressive once Jimmy Carter made him arrive in 1980 at the federal judiciary, a friend of conservative giants like her later Supreme Court partner Antonin Scalia, earned the ire of feminists criticize Roe v. Wade, questioning that the sentence that legalized the abortion it would have been based on issues of privacy and not equality. And there was no lack of opposition and doubts when Bill Clinton He nominated her for the Supreme Court in 1993, but in his 27 years there his progressive commitment grew as the High Court became more conservative.

As he fought for justice he fought against disease, fighting since 1999 five cancers and metastases, without missing a single day for his obligations in the Supreme Court. And in his inheritance he also leaves a deep respect for an institution, like so many others, increasingly in danger. “The most effective dissent,” he once said, “spells out differences without jeopardizing professionalism or public respect for and trust in the judicial establishment.”

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