In fact, she very recently dissented (along with Justice Sonia Sotomayor) a Supreme Court decision that favored a Colorado baker who refused to make a gay couple a wedding cake in 2012, as she saw it as a clear case of antigay discrimination. "What matters is that [the baker] would not provide a good or service to a same-sex couple that he would provide to a heterosexual couple," read Ginsburg's dissent.
“As RBG has said, ‘Dissents speak to a future age,’ and, ‘Justices continue to think and can change. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow,’” says Shana Knizhnik, attorney and co-author of "Notorious R.B.G.: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." “Although RBG would prefer to be in the majority, the ability to speak out in disagreement in the form of a dissenting opinion is incredibly important for the losing side, future litigants and judges, and most of all, to sound the alarm to the public,” she explains.
If you want to be heard, dissent like RBG
Learning to dissent, or express an opinion that goes against the grain, can benefit us all when we’re called upon to stand up for ourselves. Inspired by the book and the movie, we picked up a few tips and tricks on how to dissent as effectively as RBG.
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As you build your case, think long term
RBG always took a long view toward change, using her talents to dismantle gender inequality, (literally) case-by-case. Describing the process as “knitting a sweater,” Ginsburg took it upon herself to educate male justices as she fought and won cases in favor of women. As Supreme Court justice, Knizhnik says the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Co. features one of RBG’s most important dissents, because it actually led to a change in federal law.
“The majority agreed that Ms. Ledbetter had been the victim of pay discrimination, however they ruled that her claims were time-barred, because she filed them long after the discrimination had actually occurred,” explains Knizhnik. “RBG pointed out the absurdity of such an outcome, since in Ms. Ledbetter's case and indeed in most cases of pay discrimination, people who are receiving less pay as a result of discrimination are not aware until much later that that is the case. RBG put the ball in Congress's court to fix this error, and then in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation signed into law by President Obama.”