What RBG Meant to Me (And Maybe You Too)
This past Friday, I had just finished dinner when I got the news on social media. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at 87 years young.
If you watched the movie, On the Basis of Sex, it dramatizes early in her career how she fought on behalf of a man who was denied a $600 tax deduction on his tax return for a caretaker deduction for his aging mother. The denial was based on the fact that the plaintiff was a man. The tax law was only in place for married women, not for men. Discrimination against a man opened up the door for all the laws that were blatantly discriminatory against women. It was Ruth's foundational win for future cases for years to come.
According to the ACLU website, in 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Goodyear Tire Company who previously lost a case brought on by a woman named Lilly Ledbetter. Lilly Ledbetter found out after 19 years of working at Goodyear that she was being paid thousands of dollars less than her male counterparts. After the Supreme Court overturned the originally ruling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, a/k/a disagreed with the majority of Supreme Court Justices'. A dissent could be very important for future arguments and serve as a reference to create more laws, as was the case here when later, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. You can read more about the case and about Lilly here.
These are just two in a sea of cases that Justice Ginsburg has won or influenced either directly or indirectly.
Other than the obvious of why RBG meant so much to me, after all, I am a woman who got pregnant while working and wasn't fired. I am also a woman who could get my own credit card under my name without the permission of my husband. I am also a woman who could have attended the Virginia Military Academy if I so chose to do. Those are only some of the reasons why Mrs. Ginsburg is one of my heroes.
Here's the biggest reason why the Notorius RBG meant so much to me: I have been watching Ruth Bader Ginsburg ever since her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993. She is (was....) a quiet, brilliant woman who thinks before she speaks, then let's 'em have it in a direct way. Mrs. Ginsburg was taught by her Mother and other women that she admired that yelling, arguing, parades and other histrionics will not get the opposing view to come to your side of the table.
Justice Ginsburg never shied away from giving credit to the people who helped her, no matter if they were male or female. Her husband Martin, was her biggest supporter and best friend throughout her entire life. Their relationship was one for the record books of love, if someone keeps those sort of things.
True equality means equality for everyone of every race, color and gender.
Here's to you, Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thank you for all you've done for everyone, but especially women.