When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, 2020, my phone lit up. My neighbor called; my cousin; my best friend; my boss; I called my parents, because even as an adult, you need your mom to verify the incredulous. Ginsburg had been so tenacious and present in our lives that her death seemed like the loss of something elemental.
It’s unfair to make a person, no matter how brilliant or courageous, your life raft, but that is what many of us did with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her decades on the court showed us that she was deliberate, just, and future-minded, defending citizens whose constitutional personhood is somehow always in jeopardy. With Ginsburg on the bench, it seemed possible that we could ride through the oligarchic mayhem of present politics to a place where constitutional checks and balances are reasserted by both parties as the valued norm.
I believe she knew that. She was 87, with metastatic pancreatic cancer, and she worked almost until the day she died because she was a bulwark against a terrifying sea change in how the executive and legislative branches of government view the judicial branch. What a terrible burden to assign herself; and what a giant demand we made of her.
No person is a life raft, but they can be a beacon. Even now, when it feels like so many things are falling apart, we can strive for Justice Ginsburg’s unrelenting insistence on the wholeness of her personhood and that of all Americans across gender, race, culture, religion, and political ideology. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was so many things: the Notorious RBG, an Internet meme, a geriatric fitness guru. She was a hero, but also just a person, which is perhaps the most inspiring thing of all about her. Inherent in her legacy is the possibility that we all can rise to her example.
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Many books about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are out of stock due to high demand. Below is a selection of books to read right now, or you can browse our full list of titles about Justice Ginsburg.
My Own Words
by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World
by Linda Hirshman
I Know This to Be True: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday
Free to Be Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Story of Women and Law
by Teri Kanefield
You Can't Spell Truth Without Ruth: An Unauthorized Collection of Witty and Wise Quotes From the Queen of Supreme Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Mary Zaia
Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice
by Debbie Levy and Whitney Gardner
The RBG Way: The Secrets of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Success
by Rebecca Gibian
Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
by Doreen Rappaport and Eric Velasquez