Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy lives on through ELAC faculty

By Cassidy Reyna

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a forced to be reckoned with.
Ginsburg lived a life of perseverance, being the second woman on the United States Supreme Court and going through obstacles to get herself there. RBG set the example for many people today.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrant parents. She attended Cornell University and graduated at the top of her class.
Soon after, Ginsburg took a break from school to focus on her family.
Not too long after, Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard Law then transferred to Columbia Law and graduated at the top of her class.
Despite the discrimination for being a woman in a male-dominated field, she persevered.
Ginsburg made waves in her career being a Supreme Court Justice.
In United States v. Virginia, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion that allowed equal access to education for women.
Not only that, but in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Ginsburg called out how pay discrimination occurs in the work place due to gender.
RBG was an inspiration to all when it came to fighting for equality.
Ginsburg’s life spoke volumes to many people and ELAC professors are no stranger to that either.
Many ELAC professors within Law, Political Science and the women and gender studies departments agree that RBG inspired them to pursue the career they are currently in.
Professor Courtney Powers from the ELAC Business Department is extremely grateful for all that Ginsburg accomplished and the example that Ginsburg set when it came to women in law.
Powers mentioned how even if there is a disagreement in Ginsburg’s views, it is agreeable that the life she lived and how she became a trailblazer was all about perseverance.
“I was an aspiring law student when Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Court, bringing the total number of women on the Court to 2 (of 9).
“Her appointment helped me to believe that as a woman, my contributions would be valued in the legal profession, and that I could aspire to the highest level of service in the law.
“I also feel that her commitment to her work through multiple battles with cancer over the past 20 years is testament to her perseverance and a remarkable example of what it is possible to achieve in life.” said Powers.
Professor Powers also mentioned that students can learn more about Ginsburg in her Law 3 civil rights and law class that will be taught in the spring.
Professor Lauren Figueroa of the English Department was profoundly heartbroken at the passing of Ginsburg, but hopes that her legacy can empower many students in their goals. Figueroa said Ginsburg is someone people can aspire to be.
Regardless of a person’s career path or what a student is studying, Ginsburg’s story can show how goals can be reached despite any obstacles.
Figueroa said Ginsburg’s nickname “Notorious RBG” was ironic.
Ginsburg was only notorious for being a threat to those who were against the equality she fought for.
“She held her position of power with grace and humility. Justice Ginsburg didn’t just talk the talk, she walked the walk, and was one of those early ‘woke’ persons,” said Figueroa.
Figueroa also talked about how she honored Ginsburg’s life through teaching her students about her.
Figueroa hopes that learning about Ginsburg can inspire, like it did for her.
Political Science Professor Rogelio Garcia talked about how Ginsburg’s life speaks to him.
Due to Ginsburg coming from immigrant parents and being a first-generation college graduate, he himself relates to the obstacles she faced.
“As I became further educated and into my discipline, my admiration for her only grew, as I began to hear her questioning during oral arguments. She was so brilliant in her questioning. It just made me want to read more about these cases that are really stories. More importantly, it showed me that there is power in talking to people about these complex issues. She was a big inspiration in deciding to pursue a career as a professor,” said Garcia.
Garcia now covers a couple of Ginsburg’s cases in his Political Science 001, intro to political science class.
Ginsburg set the example that professor Garcia tries to live by.
Political Science Professor Kenneth Chaiprasert who also is the coordinator of ELAC Pathway to Law School Transfer Program, expressed how Ginsburg’s way of speaking for her cases and her pivotal opinions truly showed the way she was.
“Her life story and legacy inspire my own work as the coordinator of the ELAC Pathway to Law School Transfer Program, a program which activates ELAC Huskies to become champions of social justice. It is my hope that my program will continue to create graduates from our East LA community who will be the future lawyers, judges, and justices–the future Ruth Bader Ginsburgs–that continue to advance social justice into the future,” said Chaiprasert.
Chaiprasert said Ginsburg was a warrior and passionate for what she fought for. Ginsburg made such an impact on ELAC professors that many requested that her documentary “RBG,” be available for free to ELAC students, faculty and staff through ELAC’s Kanopy platform.

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