Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s business legacy
A look at where she stood on cases that had key economic consequences
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died on Friday night at the age of 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the high court in 1993, after being nominated by former President Bill Clinton.
She was the second woman to ever hold the esteemed position and her rulings helped shape modern history. She was known as a staunch advocate for women’s rights.
Here’s a look at her business legacy – and where she stood on some cases that had key economic consequences.
Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
The Supreme Court decided in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire that a female employee could not sue her employer over discriminatory pay practices because the alleged claims took place after she retired and outside the 180-day limitation period for filing.
In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg indicated Ledbetter could not have acted sooner and the court overlooked the “common characteristics of pay discrimination,” which develop over time.
“Comparative pay information, moreover, is often hidden from the employee’s view,” Ginsburg wrote. “Small initial discrepancies may not be seen as meet for a federal case, particularly when the employee, trying to succeed in a nontraditional environment, is averse to making waves.”
The case was decided 5-4.
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Citizens United v. FEC was a controversial Supreme Court case dealing with the regulation of campaign expenditures by organizations. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that laws restricting independent political spending by corporations and unions were unconstitutional because they prohibited free speech.
Justice Ginsburg has been highly, and publicly, critical of the Citizens United ruling. She said she would “love” to see the ruling overturned – but also called it an “impossible dream,” during an interview with The New York Times.
In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Hobby Lobby won a challenge (5-4) against an Affordable Care Act provision that required it to cover the costs of employees’ contraception, which it said violated its religious beliefs.
Regarding the ruling, Justice Ginsburg notably said during an interview with Yahoo Finance that her male counterparts on the high court had a “blind spot” when it came to women’s issues.
She added that she did not think the male justices understood the consequences of the ruling.
In her dissent, she also said she feared the Court had ventured into a “minefield.”
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United States vs. O’Hagan
In United States vs. O’Hagan, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that insider trading laws apply to people who obtain confidential knowledge and use it for trading, regardless of whether they have ties to companies involved.
Justice Ginsburg wrote the opinion, in which she said the decision was designed to help secure “honest” markets and “thereby promote investor confidence.”
People who obtain the information by chance or accident were not affected by the ruling.