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  • Writer's pictureSam Baker

50 dollars and a Trailways bus- A Tribute to RBG

.Justice Leticia Hinojosa’s remarks at the Candle Light Vigil Honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Brownsville, Texas.

I’m honored to have been asked to address you here tonight as we honor (Joan) Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At this candlelight vigil, we shine a light on her life and many accomplishments.

In celebrating RBG, we must also recognize and honor the woman she most emulated her – her mother, Celia Bader. Celia Bader’s parents emigrated from Poland before she was born. She was a good student, graduating from school at 15, but could go no further because her family decided that only her brothers should get a higher education. Instead, she worked as a garment worker for many years, setting aside money from every paycheck for her daughter’s college fund. She was not going to allow what happened to her happen to her daughter. Although Celia died the day before Ruth graduated from high school, she had already instilled the importance of education in her daughter’s heart.

Ruth did not let her down…..She went on to attend Harvard, married and had a child while in law school. She nursed her beloved husband who was stricken with cancer while they were both in law school. Ruth went on to graduate from Columbia Law School, tied for first in her class in 1959.

In the 1960’s, she was a Law Professor at Rutgers Law School

In the1970’s, she served as Director of the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU and argued 6 landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Interestingly, most of the cases were women who were given preferential treatment over men. For example, one case concerned widows being given Social Security benefits, while widowers were not. She knew that these kinds of cases would cut both ways and could be used as precedent to eliminate laws that discriminated against women in favor of men; for example, laws where women could not apply for credit on their or could not own property on their own. She very wisely knew that an all-male Supreme Court could most likely identify with the men being discriminated against.

In 1980 – President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

In 1993 – President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court, making her the second woman to ever serve on the Court.

Some of her landmark decisions were:

United States v.Virginia, which ruled that the Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women on the sole basis of gender.

Civil penalties for violations of anti pollution laws, giving teeth to cases brought against polluters.

As for LGBTQ rights – she was one of the justices who participated in the decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized same-sex marriage

In conclusion, I, Leticia Hinojosa, stand before you as a Justice of the 13th Court of Appeals, who grew up in Southmost and graduated from Hanna High School. Because of the guidance and inspiration of my mother and women like RBG, at the age of 17, I had the audacity to get onto a Continental Trailways bus with 50 dollars in my pocket in pursuit of my dreams at the University of Texas at Austin.

Just as those people inspired me, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will inspire untold generations of young girls and boys to realize their fullest potential. Her fierce belief that the rights and privileges promised in the Constitution of the United Sates should apply to all, especially those people from communities that are now too often marginalized. She has set a new standard for what we as a society must universally achieve. I am, and we should all be, forever in debt to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and all the others who have had the strength, vision and courage to lead the way forward.

Thank you.

Judge Leticia Hinojosa

Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

- Ruth Bader Ginsburg


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