Students remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a feminist icon


“The Notorious RBG laid the groundwork for us and now it is our turn to take this battle to the end,” Webster student Kaleigh Finney said.

On Sept. 18, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. After serving for 27 years on the Supreme Court, she is remembered by Webster students like Kaleigh Finney. Ginsburg was a leader in women’s rights activism and is the reason that women like Finney are inspired to continue the fight for equality.

“I am fearful of what rights may be revoked for us, but I know that she would not take a day off to mourn; she would expect us to fight like hell to protect our rights and the rights of others,”  Finney said. 

Thanks to Ginsburg, women are able to attend schools like Webster without fear of discrimination. Because of her, women are not forced to take separate programs from men and can receive equal educational opportunities. 

“A gender line…helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage,” Ginsburg said in a paraphrased quote by the first woman to serve as a district court judge.

She pioneered for female independence and was an inspiration to men and women alike. Blain McVey, Webster University student, believes that Ginsburg had a major part in upholding the civil rights of all people.

Graphic by Kenzie Akins.

“I see RBG as a bastion for marriage equality, combating racist gerrymandering, and women,” McVey said. 

Ginsburg aided in passing several laws that protected the rights of many types of people. Her fight for equality skipped no generation, and inspired all ages to let their voices be heard. Adrianna Gladue-Dreckman says that even her grandmother was inspired by the late justice. 

“She was very influential to women like my grandmother and stood for so much,” Dreckman said. “My grandma was a big fan.”

Her fight for human rights did not start when she was appointed into the Supreme Court. Ginsburg’s reputation as a human rights advocate started long before her over a decade long career as a justice. 

After graduating at the top of her class in 1959 from Columbia Law School, she went on to work as a director for the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Before her time as a justice, she presented multiple cases on gender equality to the Supreme Court. 

For students like Dreckman and Finney, this means that Ginsburg was fighting for their rights as women long before they were born. The notice of her passing shook the world of women’s rights activists like Finney, but now more than ever is she excited to continue pushing on for equality.

“We have so much to thank her for. Especially as women because everything we take for granted, we have because of her efforts to establish as much equality as she could,” Finney said. “Without her, I recognize that our time is now to do the work to make her legacy proud even though without her voice the fight just got a little bit harder.”

As if her death was not a hard enough blow, the announcements that followed unfortunately did not take supporters like Finney by surprise.

“I instantly knew that the Trump administration would seize her death as an opportunity to flip the court in their conservative favor,” Finney said. “It is my duty to push the issue with my representatives to prevent an appointment before the seating of a new president, and to make sure McConnell follows the precedent he set in 2016.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a Republican justice could be elected in Ginsburg’s place. This directly conflicts with a similar situation that occurred during the 2016 election year when Barack Obama called for a vote on Merrick Garland that was refused by McConnell himself. 

According to the granddaughter of the late justice Ginsburg, her dying wish was to not be replaced until a new president was elected. A decision has not yet been made as to whether or not a vote will be allowed to replace Ginsburg.

Despite what could be bad news for the Democratic party followers, Finney is prepared to continue fighting no matter the outcome. 

“Her passing is the handing off of the torch in the fight for equality not only for my sisters, but for everyone,” Finney said. “The notorious RBG laid the groundwork for us and now it is our turn to take on this battle to the end.”

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Abby Frye (she/her) was the managing editor (Spring 2022) and lifestyle editor (Fall 2020) for The Journal.