Legacy of a Legal Icon - Melvin
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Legacy of a Legal Icon

by Melvin Cook

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Justice Ginsberg’s amazing career is well known. She impacted so many different areas of legal practice. I will share just a few examples from areas in which I practice.

One of the great cases Ruth Bader Ginsberg argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in her early career was a 1975 case in which she represented a widower claiming social security survivor’s benefits.

She argued that denying widowed fathers the same survivor’s benefits afforded to widowed mothers devalued the labor of working women, because their work earned fewer family social security benefits than that of men. It also deprived widowed men of the same benefits to support their children.

See Weinberger v. Weisenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975).

In the case of Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971), she successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down an Idaho law that gave preference to men over women for appointment as an administrator of a deceased person’s estate.

Thanks in large part to RBG’s efforts, gender discrimination came under greater scrutiny in constitutional law.

She was an advocate for both father’s and mother’s active roles in the rearing of their children, an area in which she was ahead of her time, as different forms of joint custody are widely recognized by family courts as optimal for children of divorced parents. She famously asked her child’s school administrator to alternate between contacting her and her husband whenever there was an issue, such as sickness or a misbehaving child.

These are just a few examples from her storied life and career.


(Visited 09-20-20)

Oh, and lest I forget: she and Justice Scalia showed that ideological differences do not need to get in the way of civility and friendship. Well done, RBG.

Contact a Salt Lake City Attorney Committed to Protecting Your Rights

When it comes the family law and social security disability, each client and case is different. It is also important to select an attorney with the experience, skills and professionalism required to address your legal issues. To learn more, contact the Salt Lake City law offices of Melvin A. Cook and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.

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