It is with a profound sense of sadness that the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities recognizes the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was reported that the long-time member of the Supreme Court and the second woman to be raised to the highest bench in the United States died peacefully at her home with her family in Washington, DC, on Friday, September 18 due to complications with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
The passing of Justice Ginsburg and the subsequent discussion of her life, and contribution to our nation cannot be overstated. A true legal scholar and icon, Justice Ginsburg had a career that was built upon breaking barriers and fighting for justice. Even as a graduate of Harvard University, her time in the legal profession was fraught with men telling her that there was no space for women lawyers – especially one with her unique ideas. After being denied a clerkship at the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught law and fought for justice, arguing cases at the highest levels. She became known for her unapologetic stance on women’s rights and being a “tough as nails” advocate. In 1980 she was appointed to the Federal Court by President Jimmy Carter and raised to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
Justice Ginsburg served on the Supreme Court for 27 years, but the entirety of her legal career reads like an epic narrative of a fight for justice and inclusion. Perhaps one of Justice Ginsburg’s most significant advocacies is also in her tenure at the Supreme Court and her longevity on the bench. Through her consistency, fortitude and fiery exceptionalism – that seemed to grow, not lessen with age — Justice Ginsburg illustrated the importance of experience and the resilience of older Americans to continue to do the most exceptional work. It is because of this longevity that she resonated with younger generations of legal scholars and women’s rights advocates and was known as the Notorious RBG sharing that honorific with another exceptional talent who, like Justice Ginsburg, was born in Brooklyn.
We join the nation in mourning the passing of Justice Ginsburg and honor her work and legacy in building a nation of equity and opportunity for all.