Ruth Bader Ginsburg is considered to be one of the most progressive and influential legal minds in America. As a lawyer, she argued (and won) landmark women’s rights cases. While on the Supreme Court bench, she presided over cases including Citizens United v. FEC and Obergefell v. Hodges.
Not only is Ginsburg a brilliant legal scholar, she has recently emerged as a pop culture phenomena, especially among millennial women. Easily the most popular and well known of the eight Supreme Court justices, a cult following has sprung up around the “Notorious RBG.” There are RBG tee shirts, coloring books, a comic book, a blog, an opera and even a few tattoos dedicated to the justice.
On Oct. 4, the world was offered a peek into the mind of this 5’1’’ giant. My Own Words, a collection of the legal writings and essays of Justice Ginsburg hit shelves. Complied by Ginsburg along with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, the book offers a peek into the professional — and personal — life of one of America’s greatest minds.
Starting with an essay she published in her middle school newspaper, which she was the editor of, and ending with her most powerful dissenting opinions, My Own Words is a collection of the best Ginsburg writings to date. Reading more like an autobiography than a collection of essays, readers follow the personal and professional development of the court’s most senior liberal justice.
My Own Words expertly tells Ginsburg’s personal story: how her older sister died when she was little, how her mother died the day before her high school graduation and how she wanted to be an opera singer growing up. Her writing details the uphill climb to not only the High Court, but also overcoming sexism in the law field. Ginsburg struggled to find a job despite graduating at the top of her class. People looked down to her because she was a woman.
Ginsburg’s wisdom and experience is especially important and relevant today. President-elect Trump’s cabinet is shaping up to be exclusively white and male. A woman’s right to choose is under more fire than ever, and the rights of minorities are being threatened. The glass ceiling is still intact. The current state of political affairs is anything but comforting.
Through this, Ginsburg has remained this country’s progressive hope. No matter what President-elect Trump does, Ginsburg will be there, a powerful dissenting voice. She’ll remain an infallible pillar of equality and justice. In America’s time of great need, her words have never been more comforting, relevant or important.
And even if the absolute worse was to happen within the next four years, if Justice Ginsburg was no longer able to perform her duties as a member of the Supreme Court, her words will live on. The impact she has made on the lives of millions of people will never be forgotten. But let’s not dwell on that. Ginsburg doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.
Justice Ginsburg, America eagerly awaits your dissent.
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Wake Forest University School of Law on Flickr.
Sara Karlovitch is a freshman journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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