Tomiko Brown-Nagin, In Memoriam: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Last Civil Rights Lawyer on the Supreme Court, 56 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 15 (2021).
Abstract: There are many ways to describe Justice Ginsburg’s historic achievements. This essay considers one enduring descriptor. When President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court, he noted that some called Ginsburg the “Thurgood Marshall” of the women’s movement. Through this essay, I engage with and complicate that comparison. I do so to celebrate Justice Ginsburg’s pathbreaking career as a litigator and contextualize claims that her approach was insufficiently progressive. Properly contextualized, Ginsburg’s career highlights a fact too often overlooked: the civil rights movement inspired a “movement of movements” that reverberated throughout society to the benefit of women and a range of marginalized groups. The loss of Ginsburg—the last civil rights lawyer on the Court—deprives the institution of that historical legacy and the invaluable perspective on law and society that it cultivated within her.