Aug 03, 2018

“Notorious” Supreme Court Justice won’t let ageing slow her down

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Having taken the oath of office on August 10, 1993, Ginsburg has been serving at the highest judicial level for two and a half decades.

She is known affectionately as the notorious RBG, after the creation of the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr page and its ensuring popularity, comparing her to the rapper The Notorious B.I.G.

Forging her own path, to the beat of her resolve and desire for justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now a household name for many. The Tumblr (social media platform) and memes that Ginsburg has inspired have taken on an extraordinary life of their own, quite satisfying mirroring the life of their muse. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, Ginsburg is now 85 years old.

With that has come the inevitable calls for her to step down.

Age discrimination is certainly nothing new, better yet it is a problem far older than its victims.

There is a subconscious view in society that the elderly do not have what it takes to fulfil professional capacities (with senior job application rejections doing the loud speaking) let alone merit our attention.

Yet Ginsburg, as in the courtroom, has never been in the habit of being swayed by the norm or buckling to the majority.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has defied that unarticulated pronouncement of senior uselessness with each considered, wise and professional ruling she has handed down in her senior service years.

She did not buckle to the ‘norm’ of the place of women in society, in the home or in the workforce and she is showing no signs of bowing to the expectations of seniors to bow out.

No, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will dissent on that matter.

At her 85 years of age Ginsburg is the oldest justice currently serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. Countless biographies has been written about her life and a documentary recently released.

Her life is a testament to the power of will, intelligence and perseverance.

From struggling to find employment after she tied for first place for her Juris Doctor at Columbia Law School, Ginsburg went on to found law journals focusing solely on women’s rights, work in academia where she was to be a professor of law at numerous law schools, learn Swedish to write on Swedish law, work in litigation and advocacy and frankly too many mind-boggling accomplishments to list.

In short, she has been a powerhouse of advocacy and vocal voice for many of the most vulnerable in America and our world.

She has made it clear that she is certainly not going to stop because of her age, rather, her age has become another vehicle of truth. She is displaying that wisdom and experience, that come with age, are valuable tools in forging a better future for our world.

And besides, you cannot spell truth without Ruth.

From legislation that discriminated against female and male gender, worker rights, religious freedom and the ruling that saw Bush win over Gore, Ginsburg has been a strategic and focussed fighter.

Her whole career has been one of thinking and doing, her approach has not altered with age.  

She has fought through two bouts of cancer, first at 66 years old and then 76.

Weakened by the first treatment she decided to start working with a personal trainer and since 1999 she has been training twice weekly in the justices-only gym.

Right before her 80th birthday Ruth Bader Ginsburg was able to succeed in executing 20 full push-ups in a training session.

Yes she has struggled with ill health throughout her later years but in terms of the decision to retire she has not listened to the mass debates around her advancing age, poor health and death of her husband.

Rather she has showed what is possible for seniors, not through fanfare but through something more powerful, her incessing display of what she can do.

She continues to use her vast knowledge and experience of the law to hand down insightful rulings, whether in the majority or dissenting.

She, quite simply, has said that she wishes to remain a justice for as long as she is mentally sharp enough to perform her professional duties. And so it should be.

Image: You’re so pretty.

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    1. Hi Alicia,

      That’s a good question and one that we think the media and society should be thinking about. If a person is capable of doing their job, should age matter at all? Thanks for commenting.


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