Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, LGBTQ ally at the high court
While the new Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh was being formally invested on Thursday night, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized earlier that morning due to a fall.
The 85-year old high court justice had fallen at home Wednesday night and continued to experience “discomfort overnight.” She was later admitted to George Washington University Hospital early Thursday.
Kavanaugh’s investiture and Ginsburg’s accident show the importance of the latter justice’s standing in a Supreme Court that may soon be filled with conservative justices.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Still working despite the years
Having being appointed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993 and serving for 25 years since then, Ginsburg– dubbed as the “Notorious RBG”– is deemed as the leader of the court’s liberal wing.
But despite several broken ribs because of the fall, Ginsburg has survived more than that: colon cancer in 1999, pancreatic cancer a decade later, a heart stent procedure in 2014, and earlier bout of broken ribs.
Fortunately, Ginsburg sees herself staying at the bench for at least five more years.
She told CNN in July: “I’m now 85. My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so I think I have about at least five more years.”
However, her age and the recent appointment of President Donald Trump of two conservative Supreme Court justices has Democrats worried about the high court being under conservative control for decades.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Defending people’s rights at every turn
Ginsburg was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, following Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981.
Since then, Ginsburg has been a staunch defender of civil rights and equality. She also expressed her support for for the #MeToo movement.
She’s also been an stalwart ally of the LGBTQ community, from supporting the Obergefell decision that made marriage equality legal across the US to even performing gay marriages and officiating gay vow renewals.
Recently, she spoke in dissent in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, wherein the Supreme Court sided for a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
She wrote: “When a couple contacts a bakery for a wedding cake, the product they are seeking is a cake celebrating their wedding– not a cake celebrating heterosexual weddings or same-sex weddings– and that is the service [the couple] were denied.”
She also supported the high court majority against an amendment to Colorado’s state constitution that prevented lesbians, gays, and bisexuals from acquiring protected status that did not meet the Equal Protection Clause.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Supporting the rights of the LGBTQ
In 2003, she helped support the legalization of same-sex activity nationwide in the US with the case of Lawrence v Texas that banned sodomy laws.
She further backed this in Romer v Evans that made the lesbians, gays, and bisexuals a protected class as well as determined state laws as protecting gay rights.
Lastly, she dissented against the majority rule that determined the Boy Scouts of America could exclude gay members under the constitutional right of freedom of association.
Speaking to Bloomberg on same-sex marriage, Ginsburg said: “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am’. And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor– we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child.”
“I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us,” she said.
“The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ginsburg added.
Since then, she was a subject of a recent documentary by CNN and she was the portrayed by actress Felicity Jones in an upcoming feature film, “On the Basis of Sex.”