“In the rearview mirror, the victories of a trailblazing feminist. On the road ahead, the threat of an entrenched and powerful minority.” The New York Times, Editorial Board
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy By The Editorial Board, New York Times
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87, will forever have two legacies.
The one Americans could be focusing on right now is the one of legal trailblazer: Justice Ginsburg, the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court, paved the way for women’s equality before the law, and for women’s rights to be taken seriously by the courts and by society.
As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases at the Supreme Court in the 1970s, eventually persuading an all-male bench to apply the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause to sex-based discrimination.
The other legacy of Justice Ginsburg’s that the country is now urgently forced to confront is the cold political reality that she died in the final weeks of a presidential campaign, at a moment when Trump and McConnell appear to be dead-set on replacing her with someone who would obliterate much of the progress she helped the country make. The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy.
“During an inspiring, humorous and highly candid talk to more than 420 people Sept. 18, [ 2014] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared how Cornell shaped her journey to the U.S. Supreme Court.”-Credit: Cornell University
1993: Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 addresses a Columbia Law School Women’s Association panel of colleagues and former students who gathered to honor her…
The revered Supreme Court justice maintained deep ties throughout her life to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class and later became the first woman to be a tenured member of the faculty. Columbia Law School
Senate Republicans, who represent a minority of the nation, and a president elected by a minority of the nation, are now in a position to solidify their control of the third branch of government. The Supreme Court, with another Trump appointee, could stand as a conservative firewall against the expressed will of a majority of Americans on a range of crucial issues…Defending her decision not to retire when President Barack Obama could have picked her replacement, she said, “There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president.” She never anticipated…Trump, whom she called a “faker” during a 2016 interview. She shouldn’t have said it, but she was right…The future of the court now rests in the hands of McConnell, the man who has done more damage to the court’s standing than perhaps anyone in modern American history…But perhaps a few Republican senators will take the quickened pulse of the nation and consider the case to postpone resolving Justice Ginsburg’s replacement.”
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
March 15, 1933, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.— September 18, 2020, Washington, D.C.
During an interview with MSNBC Justice Ginsburg was asked “how she’d like to be remembered. Her response:
“Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something outside myself. Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.” ~Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg~( The Notorious R.B.G.)
Democratic Presidential contender Joe Biden was visibly shaken when he delivered a statement offering his condolences over the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Friday after several bouts with cancer. [September, 2020]
Ginsburg is known for her court opinions and it was to her legacy that Biden began by paying tribute.
In a statement delivered just hours after her death, Biden said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure…She practiced the highest American ideals as a justice: equality and justice under the law…Ruth Bader Ginsberg stood for all of us.”~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~(via CNN).
An image of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg is projected onto the New York State Civil Supreme Court building in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. after she passed away September 18, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly
Election 2020: What to know
How to vote: Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.
Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.
Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.
Coming up: Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.
Related: A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe
Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/?cid=rrpromo
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about her.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left her legacy for the American people.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
- In the rearview mirror, we see the victories of a trailblazing feminist.
- On the road ahead of us there is the threat of an entrenched minority.
- As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases at the Supreme Court.
- Justice Ginsburg noted that there are “Inherent differences between men and women.”
- She also stated that she would not tolerate the denigration of women or men.
- Justice Ginsburg noted that the way women were treated in the military was unconstitutional.
- Presently, the current administration wishes to obliterate much of the progress she helped the country make.
- The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87.
- Justice Ginsburg will forever had two legacies.
- As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases.
- Justice Ginsburg sat on the bench of the Supreme Court.
- Justice Ginsburg was the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
- She had once been rejected for jobs at top New York law firms.
- The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy.
- She faced down multiple bouts of cancer.
- Justice Ginsburg refusing to retire.
Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the wordlist provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.
The other ___of Justice Ginsburg’s that the ___is now urgently forced to ___is the cold political ___that she ___in the final weeks of a presidential___, at a moment when Trump and McConnell, the ___majority leader, appear to be dead-set on replacing her with someone who would ___much of the ___she ___the country make.
WORD LIST: helped, progress, obliterate, Senate, died, reality, campaign, legacy, country, confront,
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with discussing or writing about the main idea and points from the article.
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Who was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
- The article speaks of the two legacies of Ruth B. Ginsburg. What are they?
- According to the article, on which of Ms. Ginsburg’s legacies should Americans be focusing?
- In the 1970s as an attorney, which Amendment did Justice Ginsburg persuade an all-male bench to apply to a case?
- What was the Virginia Military Institute’s policy towards women in 1996?
- Justice Ginsburg stated the following, “Inherent differences between men and women, we have come to appreciate, remain cause for celebration…but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity.” What did she mean by this statement?
- What did Ruth Ginsberg call Trump during a 2016 interview with CNN? Do you agree or disagree with her comment? Please provide a reason for your opinion.
- The article refers to “the two troublesome justices” already appointed by Trump. Who are they? Why are they considered troublesome?
- The article states, “…Republicans have shown little willingness to place principle above party, or to place the long-term interests of the nation above short-term political victories.” Can you provide examples (or one current example) of long-term interests’ of this nation?
- What new information have you learned from reading this article?
Directions:Place students in groups and have each group list 3questions they would like to pursue in relation to the article. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.