07/05/2020

Equality before the law

For over a century, there has been a fight to see every individual equal in the eyes of the Law. Throughout the 21st century, women and ethnic minorities have fought for their right to equal opportunities within society, but change only began once women were allowed to practice law; or rather study it and then go into teaching law.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was not the first to pioneer equality, but she was the first to receive some success. After earning her place on the Harvard Law degree course, she transferred and completed her degree at Columbia Law School. Ginsberg was forward-thinking, recognising her inferior status at work for simply being a woman and tirelessly tried to help women become equal to men.

It was only when she took a case pro-bono for bachelor Charles Mortiz in 1971 that laws began to change. Mortiz had lost his appeal in court for a caregiver’s tax deduction, despite the fact he looked after his elderly and ill mother at home. He was denied, based on the section of the tax code which stated a single man couldn’t be a caregiver. Ginsberg was no longer fighting for women; she was fighting for equality to benefit a man.

The tables were turned, and Ginsberg represented her first client in court. Even though the defence attempted to demonstrate what ‘can of worms’ this would open for the entire legal system, how many more laws could be argued against due to inequality; their efforts failed.

Ginsberg won her first case in court, and the Law was written that a caregiver was no longer specified by gender. Since then, Ginsberg has gone on to argue many discrimination cases, with the courts admitting that equality was important for a man, they no longer had a leg to stand on when it came to the women.

Since then, Ginsberg has gone on to fight for equality for many people of different minorities. Now, she is an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, appointed by Bill Clinton, former President of the United States of America.

It’s people like Ruth Ginsberg who change the Law to fit with the current times, in the UK there are still many outdated laws and lack of legislation which hold people back based on gender or race. Could you be the person to lead the legal system forward, in-line with society and culture today?

If you’re passionate about bringing equality to all, a Law degree at the University of Bolton could be the start you need to fulfil those dreams. Take a look at our courses here.

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