Ginsburg’s legacy nationally and here at home
BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left a legacy in the Supreme Court by working to pave a path toward gender equality in the United States.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87
But she also left her mark on history here at home, part of a decision that changed enrollment at VMI.
Ginsburg had been fighting for women’s rights as early as her time at Harvard, as she was only one of a handful of women there.
Dean of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Laura Belmonte was saddened by the late-night news of her passing.
“This is about the last thing in the world we needed in American political culture right now,” Belmonte said.
She calls her a path breaker of gender equality in the U.S.
“In many ways I guess one could call her the Thurgood Marshall of women’s jurisprudence,” Belmonte said. “The cases that she took. She was very strategic in recognizing that there wasn’t going to be a Supreme Court ruling that eradicated sex discrimination in one foul swoop.”
But Ginsburg left her legacy right here at home. In 1996 she wrote the majority opinion in the United States versus Virginia, a case that struck down VMI’s policy to admit men only.
“That was a very contentious ruling in some ways for the state but transformative,” Belmonte said.
Ginsburg faced opposition at the time, but told her critics, “Wait and see, you will be proud of the women who become graduates of VMI.”
“For a woman to break through in that kind of really strong southern male genderistic tradition that was quite a remarkable milestone,” Belmonte said.
She was a political rock star, one Belmonte says stood out among the other justices.
“I would be hard pressed to identify another supreme court justice in our history that’s had that same kind of fan base,” she said.
With her RBG nickname, she served as an icon for Americans on the left side of the political spectrum.
“She gave voice to other perspectives that weren’t necessarily reflected in court rulings and often was quite prescient about the possible fallout of some of these decisions,” Belmonte said.
Ginsburg argued in front of the Supreme Court six times in the 1970′s and won five.
Her legacy is truly unmatched. She was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, the fourth ever to serve.
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