‘Notorious R.B.G.’ transitions at 87, women’s and civil rights groups praise her legacy

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passes after 27 years serving as a liberal-leaning, women’s rights judge.

As the oldest U.S. Supreme Court Justice on the bench, and one of only three female Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was considered the last best hope as a protector of legal rights for women, Black people and other people of color.

Given her age and declining health, civil and women’s rights advocates fervently hoped she could serve long enough for President Trump to be voted out of office and replaced by a Democrat who would nominate more liberal judges to the court. At the time of her death, she was one of four liberal Justices. There was even a Facebook group called This is why Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to live forever.  The group recently altered its name to “This is why Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have lived forever.

Justice Ginsburg vowed to stay in the Supreme Court “as long as I can do the job full steam.” To remain physically strong, she worked with a physical trainer since 1999. 

During her tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg beat cancer five times, but on Friday, September 19, 2020, she fought her last battle against pancreatic cancer and lost.

Washington, DC – Grieving for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, mourners leave flowers and messages at the United States Supreme Court following the death of the popular judge.

Women’s and civil rights groups promptly issued statements applauding Justice Ginsburg’s commitment to equality.

Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, wrote in a statement posted on its web site, “Her dissent in Shelby v Holder – pointing out that ‘throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes (in voting) is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet’ – was eerily prescient” regarding today’s instances of voter suppression.

The Voting Rights Act originally contained a preclearance section. Southern states in particular, which had a history of suppressing the Black vote, had to ask permission from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division or from a three judge Washington, D.C. District Court, before making any changes to their voting laws. But the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby v Holder eliminated the preclearance requirement, and states formerly covered by it are freely doing whatever they want to weaken Black peoples’ voting power.

| Read: Public viewing of Congressman John C. Lewis lain in state in the Capitol Rotunda |

“Justice Ginsburg is a role model to generations of women and girls,”  read a website statement by Susan E. Carter, board of directors’ president of The National Women’s Party. Founded in 1913, the organization works to secure equal rights for women. 

Carter continued in her thoughts on the late Justice, “Legal equality for everyone is more enshrined in the law because of her brilliant and fierce advocacy.” 

On her deathbed, Justice Ginsburg told her granddaughter that she hoped the vacancy left on the court would not be filled “until a new president is installed.”  However, her body was barely cold when President Trump wrote in a  Tweet, “We have this obligation (to fill the vacancy) without delay!” He has already prepared a list of ultra-conservative judges from which to choose Justice Ginsburg’s replacement.

There’s no replacing her.  She was nicknamed  “Notorious R.B.G.,” based on the late rapper Christopher Wallace’s nickname “Notorious B.I.G.” “Notorious R.B.G.” products like t-shirts, coffee mugs and cloth pandemic masks increased her popularity.

In an article on the writers’ platform Medium, former President Barack Obama called her “.  .  .someone who believed that equal justice under law only had meaning if it applied to every single  American.” Rest in Power, Notorious R.B.G

Margaret Summers has worked as a print and radio news reporter and a media relations professional. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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