The nation lost a towering giant of jurisprudential thought and an icon of women’s equality with the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justice Ginsburg was a groundbreaking lawyer who dedicated her career to the mission of ensuring the United States truly lived up to its promise of justice for all. She charted a series of landmark victories before the Supreme Court that worked to entrench and empower women’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause. Ginsburg earned her law degree from Columbia Law School and was its first female tenured faculty member. She co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973-1980.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and in 1993 President Bill Clinton elevated her to the U.S. Supreme Court. She served in that role for more than 27 years — the second woman to ever sit on our nation’s highest bench.
During her tenure, Ginsburg authored critical opinions upholding the right for a woman to choose, striking down discriminatory laws, defending protection against search and seizure, and overall ensuring that the highest values of justice were sewn into the soul of the country.
Justice Ginsburg leaves behind a historic mark not only on the courts, but on culture itself. Women and young girls across the country look up to the “Notorious RBG” as an icon of feminist principles in the face of a power structure that refused to see them as equals. Ginsburg stands as a symbol of the unfaltering battle against sexist prejudices — a fight that will continue after her death. Her life was the subject to two critically acclaimed films, On The Basis of Sex and RBG, which was nominated for two Academy Awards.
As an institution dedicated to maximizing opportunity and minimizing injustice, Arnold Ventures mourns the passing of a devoted and revolutionary practitioner of law who put these values into practice every day.