PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The nation is mourning the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the iconic woman who became affectionately known as “Notorious RBG.”
Tributes are pouring in for the woman who broke barriers to become of the most admired legal icons of her time. Flags are flying at half-staff across the nation to honor Ginsburg. She died Friday at the age of 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Ginsburg was the second woman in history to serve on the nation’s highest court. Perhaps her best-known work was writing the 1996 landmark decision to strike down the Virginia Military Institute’s ban on admitting women.
Local leaders on both sides of the aisle are celebrating Ginsburg’s life and her impact on the country.
Ginsburg was a pioneer and served on the nation’s highest court for nearly 30 years.
While the news of her death is shaking up the political arena, we want to take a moment to hear more about her legacy from those who had the privilege of knowing her.
A ferocious advocate for gender equality and civil rights, this small in stature powerhouse was determined. Ginsburg’s fighting spirit inspired those around her.
“For me to be able to work that closely with her and see her commitment to excellence and getting every detail right, her extraordinary memory,” said Kelsey Corkran, who clerked for Ginsburg.
As the justice became increasingly famous around the world, even earning her the famous moniker “RBG” didn’t affect her work ethic. In fact, her conviction was galvanizing.
“In a way, she brought us along,” Amanda Tyler, who also clerked for Ginsburg, said. “And she made her clerks really want to do extraordinary work. One because it was going out under her name, but two, because we wanted to be able to learn, to be as good as she was, or certainly to aspire to do that level of work.”
RBG wasn’t all work and no play. Opera was close to her heart.
On Thursday, a day before her death, the National Constitution Center produced a tribute with a number of her favorite opera singers and virtually awarded her the 2020 Liberty Medal.
“She’s described music as taking her outside herself,” National Constitution Center president Jeffrey Rosen said. “She said ‘I can’t think about the briefs that I’m thinking about or anything else, I just get completely lost in the music.'”
Democratic Congressman Dwight Evans says it was fitting she received recognition on Constitution Day.
“That’s significant to understand about we the people, protecting the people’s rights and the importance of that,” Evans said. “That’s not something you take very lightly and she was a guardian.”
Ginsburg is revered in Philadelphia. Her last visit was back in December when the National Museum of American Jewish History honored her with the “Only in America” award and inducted her into their Hall of Fame. The pioneer died Friday on the Jewish high holiday Rosh Hashanah.