Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not primarily known for her positions on labor issues, though of course many feminist issues are also workplace ones, and Ginsburg’s anti-discrimination work in the 1970s opened up new possibilities for women. In recent years, Ginsburg wrote powerful dissents to the courts’ conservatives’ support of forced arbitration, in which workers are required to sign away their right to a day in court as a condition of employment. She also got the chance to cast a vote for the rights of pregnant workers.
Advocates for workers stepped up to remember Ginsburg.
From the AFL-CIO:
America has lost one of the greatest jurists in our nation’s history. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her career defending the Constitution and the everyday working people who bring that document to life. She was a consistent, unshakable champion of civil and women’s rights and the freedom to form a union. The AFL-CIO, the labor movement and all those who aspire for dignity on the job are better off because of Justice Ginsburg’s service. Her passing leaves a hole in our collective hearts and a vacancy on the highest court in the land, and you can rest assured that America’s unions will honor Justice Ginsburg’s memory as we fight for our democracy in the days and weeks to come.
From the National Education Association:
Justice Ginsburg was a woman, teacher and tenacious fighter for equal rights for women and girls. She reminded us the only thing that keeps women from being on equal footing with men is to take ‘their foot off our necks.’ Truly the Notorious RBG, she showed us the power of dissent. In the landmark decision of Ledbetter v. Goodyear, she boldly wrote that what many of us know far too well and personally: women can be victims of sex discrimination, and we are far from achieving equal pay for equal work. In the power of the written word, Justice Ginsburg urged Congress to take up the issue.
From Pride at Work:
With the passing of Justice Ginsburg, America lost a champion for LGBTQ people, workers, women, and the ideals of equality and justice. Justice Ginsburg’s legal brilliance and work ethic made her more than just a popular hero for so many nationwide, it made her a force to be reckoned with.
From the American Federation of Teachers:
Justice Ginsburg is an icon. She leaves behind a legacy as a brilliant, hardworking jurist and a trailblazing feminist; her loss is incalculable. Long before she became notorious, she broke barriers most never even dreamed to approach. Her unfailing sense of justice reminded us of its awesome power, and her unbending sense of duty reminded us to remain committed to protecting our democracy, our Constitution and the rule of law. But it was her personal courage and resilience, especially in the face of illness, that reminded us just how much strength one single person can have.
This blog originally appeared at Daily Kos on September 19, 2020. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is a Daily Kos contributing editor since December 2006. Full-time staff since 2011, currently assistant managing editor.