Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has long been celebrated for her fight for equality. Now, her legacy has a lasting place in her hometown of Brooklyn, after a large bronze statue depicting her atop the steps of the Supreme Court was unveiled on Friday.
The statue was revealed in City Point, in downtown Brooklyn. The unveiling comes days before what would have been her 88th birthday on March 15, which Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has announced will now be known as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Day.
A pair of artists known as Gillie and Marc created the bronze statue as part of the Statues for Equality series. Through Statues for Equality, the artists said they hope to raise awareness about the important roles women have had in history and their continued impact on the present.
Gillie and Marc said on their website that over the past 15 years, just 1% of their sculpture commissions were for depictions of women.
“Public statues are made to inspire, celebrate success, and tell the most important stories of the community. By leaving out the women from this equation it is no wonder that women are still not seen as equals to men,” the artists said. “Gillie and Marc decided to put their artistic talents to work to change this representation imbalance in public art and remind the world of all the incredible women there are while changing biases.”
When City Point originally announced the statue, Gillie and Marc said that the tribute to Ginsburg “reflects her wish to be depicted in a dignified manner.”
“With the two steps on its large base representing the Supreme Court and the climb she made to get there, the work is designed to provide the public with an opportunity to stand at her side, and gain inspiration from her journey fighting for equal rights,” they said.
Ginsburg was aware of and had approved of the statue prior to her death in September.
Borough President Eric Adams said Friday that Ginsburg’s life inspired “generations.”
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg dedicated her life to breaking down barriers and making our country a more equitable place,” Adams tweeted. “Her powerful example has inspired New Yorkers of all generations, and this new statue will ensure her legacy lives on for generations.”
In a statement, Adams has also said that “no one can dispute the towering achievements of this judicial giant and the value of adding her likeness to the landscape or our city.”
Ginsburg was born and raised in Brooklyn. She spent her childhood in Midwood, and went to P.S. 238 for elementary school and James Madison High School before going to upstate New York for college, according to the National Women’s History Museum. She often spoke about the challenges she faced as a woman in the legal field and spent decades championing equal rights.
Ginsburg had fought for equality long before joining the Supreme Court in 1993. In the ’70s, she argued six landmark gender equality cases before the Court, and succeeded in all but one of them, the history museum said, paving the way for gender equality in the workplace.
One of her most famous quotes on the subject is from a speaking engagement at Georgetown University in 2015.
“People ask me sometimes… ‘When will there be enough women on the court?'” she said. “And my answer is, ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked, but there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”