[Editor’s note: The following statement was issued by JACL Executive Director David Inoue and Public Affairs VP Sarah Baker]
The loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is immeasurable. Her life was one of perseverance, meaningful dissent, and the embodiment of the idea that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.
As the target of intense gender discrimination from the start of her career, she devoted herself to eliminating the very barriers she had faced through the power of the courts. As a litigator, she not only broke down the laws that separated men and women but also broke down the stereotyped roles opening up the potential for both men and women to be and become whatever they desired, not what society forced upon them.
Justice Ginsberg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993, and within just a few years wrote the majority decision striking down the male-only admissions policy of the Virginia Military Institute. Over the course of her 27 years on the court, she would author numerous majority decisions and minority dissents that would give voice to many who thought they had no voice in our judicial system and also in defiance to the action or inaction of the other co-equal branches of government.
Though we have progressed from the days when a recently graduated female law student was unable to find a job practicing law, there remains much to be done to truly achieve the sex and gender equality that Justice Ginsberg championed through her career and lived out in her own life. We can honor her legacy by ensuring that her successor in the court is just as committed to promoting continued progress towards equality and justice for all.
We send our condolences to Justice Ginsberg’s family and all Americans feeling the pain of her loss.