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US Navy to name future ship after late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg (Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/Released)
April 04, 2022

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced last week that the service will name a future John Lewis-class replenishment oiler ship after former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in late 2020 at 87-years-old.

“As we close out women’s history month, it is my absolute honor to name the next T-AO after the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is a historic figure who vigorously advocated for women’s rights and gender equality,” Del Toro said in a statement. “As Secretary of the Navy, it is my aim to ensure equality and eliminate gender discrimination across the Department of the Navy. She is instrumental to why we now have women of all backgrounds, experiences and talents serving within our ranks, side by side with their male Sailor and Marine counterparts.”

The USNS Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after the late Supreme Court Justice, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton and took her seat on August 10, 1993. She was considered a brilliant legal mind and known to be a staple representative of the liberal movement.

The ship that will be named after Ginsburg is a fleet oiler “designed to transfer fuel to the Navy’s operating carrier strike groups.”

“The oilers have the ability to carry a load of 162,000 barrels of oil, maintain significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and a speed of 20 knots. General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company designed the vessels with double hulls that protect against oil spills as well as strengthened cargo and ballast tanks,” the Navy explained. “The T-AO measures 742-feet in length with a full load displacement of 49,850 tons.”

The Navy’s announcement described Ginsburg as a “pioneering advocate for women’s rights turned Supreme Court Justice” who “made history as the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“Of her 27-year tenure on the Supreme Court, she is most noted for her work toward issuing the majority opinion for United States v. Virginia, a landmark 1996 case that struck down Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admissions policy,” the statement continued.

 Additionally, Del Toro named Jane Ginsburg, Justice Ginsburg’s daughter, as the ship’s sponsor.

Before joining the nation’s highest court, Ginsburg was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963 to 1972 and Columbia Law School from 1972 to 1980. She was also a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California, from 1977 to 1978.

At the same time, Ginsburg helped launch the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973 to 1980 and was on its National Board of Directors from 1974 to 1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980.