San Diego Female Attorneys Share Impact of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at 87 years old

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Across San Diego County many are honoring the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, who spent more than a quarter-century on the nation's highest court fighting for equality.

Justice Ginsburg's landmark cases impacted Dulce Garcia, an immigration attorney, both personally and professionally.

Local lawyers told NBC 7's Melissa Adan that Ginsburg inspired them to practice law, while others, share what it was like to witness the judge in action in our nation's highest court.

"That she would see me as a person even though I am undocumented, that she saw me as an equal member of our society even though I am a woman, and just as short as she is," Garcia said with a smile, describing how Ginsburg's life's work has lifted her. "We can walk seven feet tall because she has paved the way for us."

Garcia said she had the honor to witness Justice Ginsburg in action when she attended Supreme Court oral arguments on the DACA case last fall.

"This case was about whether I got to stay in the U.S. or whether I would be deported," said Garcia.

It was a pivotal moment in June - the 5 - 4 vote blocked the Trump administration's plan to dismantle a President Obama-era program that has protected DREAMers from deportation.

"So much was at stake and to know that there is a woman warrior unlike me, in front of me fighting for us as the justice in the highest court of the land was everything and very inspirational," said Garcia.

Justice Ginsburg has also become a pop culture icon, earning the nickname "Notorious RBG," and has been played in several films. Books have also been published highlighting her accomplishments as the second female on the Supreme Court, and they've inspired young San Diego readers.  

"No matter your political views, knowing that a woman who is a mom can also have a career, can be a Supreme Court justice, I mean the story in general is just amazing and inspirational," said attorney Vanessa Peña.

Peña has gifted "Who Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg?" books to her community.

"It's a cute little book for them to know the history better, but also about a female Supreme Court justice, how our justice system works and told through the eyes of her story," said Peña.

Justice Ginsburg leaves behind a vital legacy for women. She helped end male-only college admissions, supported reproductive rights and rights for the LGBTQ community, and spoke out about the "Me Too" movement.

Jennifer Goldman said she can relate to Ginsburg as a young female Jewish attorney who survived cancer while in law school.

"I just persevered. I didn't look at being depressed or getting myself down, I just finished out law school." said Goldman. "I see the parallel with Justice Ginsburg. I mean, she even in the past few months of her life, she was in and out of the hospital and she still would have all of her documents and work delivered to her home."

Justice Ginsburg fought pancreatic cancer and was repeatedly hospitalized, but would return to work. She passed away surrounded by her family on Friday.

"She was such an example of resilience and perseverance. I mean, we could all learn something," said Goldman.

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