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Reflecting on the Words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Justice Ginsburg was a champion of gender equality and a fervent fighter for equal justice for all. We join our nation in mourning her loss.

We had the privilege of hosting Justice Ginsburg at the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair in 2017 where she was interviewed by retired U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams. True to character, Justice Ginsburg shared words of inspiration and insight with the hundreds of law students in attendance eager to begin their public interest law careers. Her words then serve us now as we reflect on her life and service to our country.

To law students that day, she shared, “Don’t give way to emotions that are unproductive like anger, jealousy or remorse. They will not move you forward. That was the advice that my wonderful mother gave me.”

When asked her hope for the future, she replied, “Well, I will borrow a line from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ and to that I add, if there are enough people who care about a safe and just world to do the work necessary for us to keep our planet safe for our children and grandchildren, and to see that our most enduring values are fully respected.

I am so glad that there are so many bright young people who want to make the world a little better. Who want to repair the tears in our community… and if you’re a true professional, then you will use at least some of your time to work to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you are. So, I applaud this audience and I wish you very satisfying careers working in the public interest.”

She concluded the interview by responding the ever-present question of when she would retire, responding, “My answer is as long as I can do the job full steam, I will do it.”

And do it full steam she did. May Justice Ginsburg rest in peace, rest in power, and in the words of her Jewish heritage, may her memory be a blessing.

With gratitude,
David Stern
Equal Justice Works Executive Director

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