Rest in power: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Supreme Court justice and a cult hero
A champion of progressive causes, she became a cultural phenomenon and heroine in her 80s
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has died at the age of 87, was the second woman to serve on the US Supreme Court; she was a moderate who moved to the left as her country’s politics shifted rightward, her birdlike stature and quiet manner making her an unlikely cult hero.
Although vilified by detractors as anti-American, her campaigning work as a lawyer tackling discrimination and her progressive pronouncements on the court meant that she was long the darling of US liberals. But it was not until her 80s that she became a true cultural phenomenon; her face, instantly recognisable behind giant spectacles, plastered across birthday cards, beer cans and coffee mugs, tattooed on fans’ bodies and painted on fingernails.
That transformation came in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory in 2016, as shocked liberals, devastated by Hillary Clinton’s defenestration and mourning the loss of Barack Obama, searched for a new champion. They found one in Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in every way the antithesis of Trump: a softly spoken Jewish grandmother who stuck up for minorities and challenged injustice, she was modest, reserved and calm...