Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Remembering An Icon

“None of us would be in the places we are today but for her and her body of work.” — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

America has lost an icon of justice and for equal rights for women.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg “herself faced that discrimination.” — Barbara McQuade, University of Michigan

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought structural sexism as an attorney, then served 27 years on the nation’s high court. Her death at the age of 87 sets up a fraught political battle over her successor as we head toward a presidential election. If President Donald Trump gets his nomination through, it will be his third appointment to the Supreme Court in less than four years — a legacy that will likely last for decades.

Stephen Henderson speaks with two Michigan women who have risen to very high levels in the legal field about Ginsburg’s legacy and the fight for justice ahead.

Listen: Barb McQuade and Attorney General Dana Nessel on the legacy of Ruth Baders Ginsburg.


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says that in recognizing what Justice Ginsburg did for women’s rights, she likens “to Justice Thurgood Marshall and what he meant as far as racial equality and the impact he made.” She goes on to say that “none of us would be in the places we are today but for her and her body of work.”

In looking at how Republican leaders are planning to nominate and confirm a replacement of Ginsburg, Nessel says that “it creates such a feeling of disparity that it adds to the feeling of injustice.” 

Barbara McQuadeFormer US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and University of Michigan Law Professor, summarizes the impact of Ginsburg’s work both during and prior to her SCOTUS appointment in noting that “things that we take for granted today, (Ginsburg) herself faced that discrimination.”

In looking ahead to a potentially far more conservative lean in the court with a new appointment, McQuade fears “what that says about the court, if it’s just one more political tool… I fear that the court loses legitimacy.” In talking with Henderson about the GOP’s move to rush through another Trump-appointed SCOTUS nominee, she explains that “we expect other branches of the government to be partisan but not the court” and if Trump is able to move forward with his selection, then “one-third of the court will be appointed by someone who didn’t win the popular vote,” she says.

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