Statement on the Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This is a moment of collective grief for us as lawyers, law students, and activists for reproductive justice. We are so grateful to Justice Ginsburg as a role model, a teacher, and a trailblazer whose work made it possible for us to imagine (and reimagine) our passions and careers, our presents and futures, and what freedoms are possible within the strictures of an imperfect system.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in a class by herself. She was a Supreme Court justice who was also a powerful pop culture figure. Justice Ginsburg went to law school in a time when women didn’t go to law school. We are able to organize on law school campuses today, and to train lawyers to work for reproductive justice, because Justice Ginsburg paved the way. 

Justice Ginsburg has been a beacon of thought leadership, a voice for justice, and a champion for legions of If/When/How student and lawyer members throughout our careers. As co-author of the first-ever legal casebook on sex-based discrimination, many of us learned the very fundamentals of gender equality and the law through her lens. Her influence on building and shielding the scaffolding of women’s legal rights in the U.S. cannot be overstated; her opinions, concurrences, and dissents lay out a blueprint of how all of us who work for justice can reshape the law to support our deeply held values. 

Like many women, Justice Ginsburg carried the weight of movements. We are especially holding the pain of a particular truth: No one or their loved ones should have to spend their final months and moments bearing the burden of being one of the last remaining barriers to the worst kinds of incursions on the human rights and dignity of people today, and for generations to come. Justice Ginsburg, or perhaps even the idea of her, has carried much — too much — in a political era when the most basic rights of the most marginalized among us are under threat. We may not agree with every opinion Justice Ginsburg issued, and we value nuanced conversations about her legacy, but we honor and respect Justice Ginsburg for her dedication to a more just world. We will carry on in her stead, buoyed by her unwavering devotion, fostered by her legacy, and guided by her brilliance. 

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