In Memoriam: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
PENSACOLA (September 19, 2020) –
I did not grow up in a a family of lawyers. My legal heroes were mostly confined to fictional characters: Atticus Finch, Perry Mason, Jake Brigance and Vincent Gambini to name a few. In the 1980s, women were rarely depicted as skilled lawyers on television and in media. In 1993, RBG was appointed to the United States Supreme Court, becoming only the second woman named to the court in its 200 year existence, and the phrase “if you can see it, you can be it” came to life for a generation of women.
Despite political associations often made with justices on the court, I do not know a single woman lawyer that does not credit RBG with our opportunity to practice law with the same level of devotion, skill and enthusiasm as the men who remain, even in 2020, the majority in the legal profession.
One of my favorite quotes from RBG is:
People ask me sometimes… ‘When will there be enough women on the court?’ And my answer is, ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked, but there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”- Appearance at Georgetown University, 2015 [link to PBS video interview]
This statement was never meant to imply that women were on a mission to replace men on the court or in the profession; rather, it’s meant to reveal and push us to question the systems in which we live and work, and reveal the inequity of representation that still exists to this day. RBG often said of her notorious dissenting opinions, authored during her term on the court, that they were “speak[ing] for a future age…That is the dissenter’s hope, that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”
Every woman practicing law today, and certainly those before me that were the first to attend law school and become licensed, understands this sentiment. So much of what we do in our practice, while being “the only” in the courtroom, the board room or the shareholder’s meeting, is for the woman of tomorrow. The opportunity we enjoy today is attributed to RGB and her tireless work for the advancement of gender equality and to end gender discrimination, especially in the workplace. Justice Ginsburg artfully demonstrated how gender discrimination harms both men and women, famously stating, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
She was a fearless lawyer and jurist but was also a woman, a wife and a mother. She is an inspiration and real life legal hero.
About Clark Partington:
Clark Partington is the largest business focused firm in the Florida panhandle with offices in Pensacola, Destin, Grayton Beach & Tallahassee. The firm also maintains a presence in South Alabama with an Orange Beach office. Since 1976 Clark Partington has grown to over forty lawyers and has served the people and businesses of Florida through an innovative and collaborative approach to practicing law. Our lawyers are consistently recognized for their service to the profession and excellence in the courtroom. More information about the firm’s practice, its attorneys, and recognitions may be found at www.clarkpartington.com.