We join the nation in mourning the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Over her 20-year career before appointment to the D.C. circuit court, Justice Ginsburg fought for equal rights in the workplace, among many other important issues. Justice Ginsburg knew firsthand what it felt like to lose a job because of her gender, including when Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter declined to hire her as one of his clerks because he wasn't ready to hire a woman.

Justice Ginsburg's work had a profound impact on banking and access to credit for women. In a series of cases, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Justice Ginsburg's clients, finding that discrimination on the basis of sex is unconstitutional. Her work paved the way for the passage of ECOA at a time when married women generally could not have a bank account solely in their name and when it was very difficult for women to get credit cards without male cosigners. ECOA changed the legal landscape for access to credit, making it illegal to discriminate against a borrower on the basis of sex, marital status, race, age, national origin, or receipt of public assistance. Financial independence, then, is one of the many ways in which Justice Ginsburg improved the lives of women and inspired women and men to stand up and continue fighting for gender equality.

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Originally published 15 October 2020

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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