Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trailblazer for Women’s Rights, Passes at 87
September 19, 2020, San Francisco—Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, legal and feminist icon who led the way for gender equality, passed away on Friday, September 18. The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) deeply mourn her loss, seeking solace in her legacy of service and passionate dissent in the face of injustice.
Justice Ginsburg’s lifelong fight for gender equality began long before her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. At Harvard Law School in the 1950s, Ginsburg was one of only nine female students in a class of more than 500, and she was repeatedly passed over for job and advancement opportunities.
“Suppose I had gotten a job as a permanent associate,” Ginsburg remarked in 2017. “Probably, I would have climbed up the ladder and today I would be a retired partner. So often in life, the things you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”
Ginsburg’s persistence turned into our collective good fortune as she led the way in academia and advocacy. In the 1970s, she co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter, the first national law journal to focus exclusively on women's rights, and she co-founded and directed the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ginsburg dedicated her life to advancing women’s rights by chipping away at discriminatory laws one by one. After shaping the fight for gender equality in the 1970s and 1980s, she continued to serve 27 years on the nation’s highest court, from 1993 until her death in 2020.
She wrote landmark opinions that advanced gender equality, disability rights, and rights for immigrants, never letting up in the collective mission to bending the arc of the moral universe.
We will honor her life and service by continuing the fight for equality and fairness for all.
“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.
The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) advances fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession. JDC is the largest legal services providers in San Francisco. JDC’s programs serve approximately 9,500 disadvantaged San Franciscans a year, with the overarching goal of assisting the community’s most vulnerable members with accessing the judicial system and strengthening their personal, professional, and economic security.