Democratic women back House bill calling for Ruth Bader Ginsburg monument at U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON – The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be returning to Capitol Hill. 

Members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, including Reps. Jackie Speier of California, Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and Lois Frankel of Florida, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, introduced a bill this month to erect a monument of Ginsburg on Capitol grounds.

“This is an effort to highlight an extraordinary person in American history,” Speier, a co-sponsor of the House bill, told USA TODAY. “You know we’ve done that for many other individuals who you know are emblematic of talent and grit and ingenuity that we are so proud of in this country.”

Ginsburg died Sept. 18, 2020, two months after announcing that she suffered a recurrence of cancer and lesions were found on her liver.

Ginsburg’s legacy as a trailblazer and champion of women’s rights resonated with many. And just a day after Ginsburg’s death, a record-breaking amount of money from the political left was donated to Democratic candidates as the conversation to fill the court vacancy began. 

“I mean it was such a moving national response to judge Ginsburg for a number of women, but women responded so passionately about her legacy, about what her life and her struggles and her endurance and strength meant to so many women,” Lawrence said.

This statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by artists Gillie and Marc was unveiled on March 12 in Brooklyn. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Statues for Equality)

“It’s very telling because the history of women is often, or the legacy is often not memorialized like the men are,” Lawrence added. “I’ve had the wonderful, amazing opportunity to share her legacy in my lifetime and I want others to see her statue and to reflect on what she has contributed to women throughout her career.”

A statue commemorating Ginsburg was erected in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York, on Friday — ahead of what would’ve been her 88th birthday on March 15 — outside a multiuse development called City Point.

Although a statue at the Capitol would offer a similar commemoration, it would have a different meaning, according to Nika Elder, an assistant professor of art at American University and in expert in North American art. 

“I think that’s a wonderful statement to commemorate her connection to Brooklyn, but it is different to include a statue or monument at a site of political power and in an institution and in a building that her policies, or rather her rulings have helped shape … actual legal agendas but then also in terms of the increasingly growing number of female representatives and senators that there are,” Elder said. “So, I think it’s important to recognize her as having had a seismic impact on that very location and institution itself.”

Ginsburgwill be depicted by either a statute, bust or portrait. The bill has been referred to the House Administration Committee.

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