Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87, following complications from pancreatic cancer. The Supreme Court justice served on the Court since 1993 and was defined by her quiet, almost retreating demeanor, her meticulousness, and her preference for building consensus rather than hewing to one political ideology or another.
The perception of Ginsburg as a dissenting liberal firebrand developed relatively late in her career. It was facilitated in part by changes in her voice as a Supreme Court justice, but more so by a shifting Court.
In her 80s, Ginsburg became a feminist and liberal avatar, her likeness immortalized on T-shirts and mugs and as an action figure.
But her legacy remains one of advancing civil liberties and equality.
When asked to name which Supreme Court cases did the most harm during her tenure as a justice, Ginsburg listed three: the Court’s decision dismantling much of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder (2013); the decision in Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), holding that federal courts may do nothing to stop partisan gerrymandering; and the decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010), which permitted corporations to spend unlimited money to influence elections.