On Sept. 18, the Associated Press reported, “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87.”
At first, I didn’t believe it. Although I knew Justice Ginsburg had faced several health complications over the years, I never imagined her passing because she was essentially a superhero.
At least … my superhero.
As a young woman dreaming of one day becoming an attorney, I frequently found myself admiring the strength of Justice Ginsburg and marveling at the impact she had on women’s rights.
Justice Ginsburg was one of nine women in her Harvard Law class before she transferred to Columbia Law School. During her time at Harvard Law School, she was scolded for taking a seat “meant” for a man by Harvard Law School’s Dean and was not allowed to study in the law library due to her gender, according to NBC Boston.
Not only had Justice Ginsburg served as a role model for young women like myself, but she spent her legal career fighting for women’s rights and participated in critical Supreme Court rulings, including Obgerfell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, and Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down strict restrictions and requirements on abortion providers in 2016.
She was only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and was also well known by her very fitting nickname, Notorious R.B.G, a take-off on the stage name of well-known rapper Notorious B.I.G.
For future women attorneys like myself, we need role models like Justice Ginsburg in places of power in our government.
Not just women.
But women who care about fighting for others.
Often, I find myself discouraged when I look at photos of Congress and remember that only 25% of the members of the Senate and 23% of the members of the House are women, according to U.S. News and World Report, although women make up 51% of the population in the United States. But then I look at women like Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor and realize that I deserve a place in a male-dominated career if I earn the privilege.
A democracy is supposed to be representative of the population it serves.
When only one fourth or less of the members of Congress are women, how are women supposed to be represented fairly?
I am so sick and tired of hearing the same misogynistic questions or comments after stating, “I want to be an attorney.”
“Women are too emotional to be in politics.”
Wonder if that view changed after the Presidential debate.
“Will you have time to have a family with the workload?”
“So, do you want to go to law school because of ‘Legally Blonde’?”
No, I am going to law school to follow in the steps of the countless women who walked the halls of male-dominated law schools and sat in courtrooms full of men who looked down upon them solely due to their gender.
Going to law school will provide me the opportunity to make a real change in this country.
Although I am dedicated to my goal of one day being accepted into a prestigious law school and being able to practice law after successfully passing the Bar exam, I would not be able to have this dream without the women before me who continued to persist against the countless challenges they faced and have spent their careers making sure that I would have a place one day there, too.
The women before me, including Justice Ginsburg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and countless other women working in positions of power in our government, have experienced hurdles in their careers, but nevertheless, they persisted.
Due to their hard work and refusal to settle, they have made it possible for me to dream bigger than just being an attorney, and they have shown me that I should never settle when it comes to my dreams for my career or my personal life.
To Justice Ginsburg, thank you.
Because of your hard work, I will continue to fight for issues I care about in a way that will inspire others to fight with me.
Your fight is not over.
Your passion will live on in the women like myself whom you have inspired.
Your fight is now mine and that of every single powerful woman in this country.
May your memory be a blessing.