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VLS Remembers Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 25, 2020

On Friday, September 18, the world lost a true hero of the legal profession. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lifetime of achievements and trailblazing career inspired people the world over to fight for fairness, justice and equality.

Vermont Law School was among the first higher education institutions to award Justice Ginsburg an honorary degree, which we bestowed on her at the 1984 Commencement. As the former director of the ACLU and a current D.C. Court of Appeals Judge, she had embodied the school’s motto to great effect: using the power of the law to make a dramatic difference in the community and in the world. Our community shares some reflections on the life and legacy of this remarkable woman.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg 1984
Ruth Bader Ginsberg 1984

VLS Community Tributes:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an inspiring woman. She championed for women’s rights and was seen as a positive force within the Supreme Court. She was the second woman to serve on the U.S Supreme Court and the first Jewish woman to serve. Ginsburg served as an inspiration and gave hope to many. One only had to be on social media these past few days to see that. Ginsburg serves as a reminder that no matter where one is from or what disadvantages one faces, anything is possible. Of course, her history is not perfect -- her decision in Strate v. A-1 Contractors has been met with much criticism --but it does not negate all the other good she has done. Ginsburg is a perfect example of a three-dimensional woman who has done tremendous good and also has made mistakes. She serves a reminder to all that no one is perfect, but we can all do good in this world. Ginsburg was an amazing woman who will be missed and remembered.– Vermont Law School Women’s Law Society

There are somehow no words and too many words at the same time to describe Justice Ginsburg’s impact on my goals and dreams. She showed me that women not only belong at the legal table, but are a force once given a seat. Her legacy will live on through the voices of all the women she empowered and valued.

To a true SHEro, thank you.  – Rebecca Kimmel 

The most compelling aspect of Justice Ginsburg's character was her ability to see the commonalities in people (e.g., the humanity in her colleagues at the U.S. Supreme Court). For example, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia were friends. I remember Justice Scalia’s son, on a news interview, talking about how his father surprised Justice Ginsburg with two dozen roses! While these justices were on two different ideological spectrums, they formed a friendship no one could break. Justice Ginsburg is a prime example of how to see the commonalities in people. She enjoyed food, and Justice Scalia did as well. Over time they developed a bond no one could break. She encouraged me always to see and search for the similarities in people despite disagreements.

In addition to her contributions to our country and world, Justice Ginsberg holds a special place in my heart for how she touched my family. I will never forget when my daughter came home from her Freshman year at college and couldn’t stop talking about this amazing Supreme Court justice she had learned about (as if I had never heard of her : ) and inspired her to become a political science major. She also gave my husband, who grew up in the slums of Boston and, who had deemed Muhammad Ali the only person tough enough to be worthy of the title “hero”,  a second name to add to that elite stature. Thank you RBG for making me love my family even more. – An anonymous member of the Vermont Law School community 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg 1984
1984 Commencement Program

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life was remarkable! We all should strive to have such a life. – Bobby Turner 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for me.  

Being abused in an oppressive household for using my voice as a girl is my first memory. Justice Ginsburg fought for my voice and that of my mother’s, when we could not. She spent her life ensuring that so many would have a voice, a right, and the ability to be treated as human. The loss of Ruth is a personal one. She was an extraordinary human being, and her legacy will be carried in my heart throughout my life.  –  An anonymous member of the Vermont Law School community  







Lauren Wustenberg and Pat Parenteau reflect on Ruth Bader Ginsburg: