I knew Justice Ginsburg had been seriously ill, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I heard the news of her passing. But it was still a big shock, and tears started falling. I thought to myself, “I don’t even personally know her—why am I crying?” It was because of all that she represented. She was truly inspirational. She had a tough life—losing her mother at a young age and trying to get her foot in the door and succeed in a male-dominated profession, not to mention numerous serious health issues. Yet she persevered, and she became a “first” in so many ways, even in death—being the first woman and first Jewish American to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
Reading about her life has been fascinating, but two parts I especially enjoyed were her sense of humor and her friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The two justices were on opposite ends of the law but close friends. I love the picture of the two of them in India on an elephant. She was behind him, and when asked why she, an advocate of women’s rights, would agree to sit behind a man, she explained that it was for weight distribution purposes! It also just goes to show that you can be on polar opposite ends of important and often contentious issues, but still be respectful and mindful of others and their opinions.
Justice Ginsburg’s cachet was appealing to multiple generations—young, old, and everyone in between. I was surprised that even my 17-year-old twins knew of her and something about her life even if only because of “Notorious RBG” mania! That’s something special that not many public personas are able to achieve. She fought for equality and opened doors for the rest of us so that we could also succeed in professions previously dominated by men. Not only have I managed to succeed as an attorney and working mother because women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the way, but I know that my daughter will have fewer challenges as a result. For that, I am so grateful to Justice Ginsburg, and she will be missed so very much.