Friday we lost one of the most respected, and most beloved, jurists of our time. A brilliant and barrier-breaking leader, Ruth Bader Ginsburg brought forth her fiery commitment to justice and equality with the truest grit possible. No one has ever worked more tirelessly and effectively to advance the equal status of women through the law. At the same time, Justice Ginsburg championed the ethical principles of equal liberty and human rights, advancing the cause of justice everywhere. Her quiet passion and relentless work broke through political as well as legal barriers previously unimaginable, but always warranted, including equal pay for equal work.
Justice Ginsburg was a pioneer and an inspiration. It was my honor to award her an honorary degree from Penn in 2007, and just two years ago to have her back on campus at Penn Law to celebrate her 25 years on the Supreme Court. In response to a student’s question, Justice Ginsburg explained why it was that young people gave her optimism for the future. “It’s in your hands to see which way our country goes,” Justice Ginsburg said. Her greatest legacy is to inspire us all to continue breaking down barriers to equal justice.