41ºF

Daughter shares Grosse Pointe woman’s special connection to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg died from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her career fighting for women’s rights and breaking the glass ceiling in the judicial system.

Ginsburg died Friday at her home in Washington at the age of 87. She was the second woman appointed to the court after President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981.

Ginsburg was part of a small group of women learning at Harvard Law. It was there she befriended a young woman from Grosse Pointe.

Kendra Nordin’s mother started at Harvard Law School in 1956 at a part of the sixth class of women admitted. She was classmates with a young, brilliant woman who would later be appointed to the highest court in the country.

“It’s just kind of neat to think that for a time, my mom was shoulder to shoulder with her in those intimidating halls of Harvard Law School, just proving that they deserve to be there like anybody else,” Nordin said.

There were only nine women in the Harvard Law School class of 1959.

“What I’m proud about is that even if my mom didn’t make it as far in the legal profession as Justice Ginsburg, she was there with her,” Nordin said. “She created that sense of camaraderie, and ‘I’m here too,’ that it gave women the courage to just keep moving forward.”

Virginia Nordin was a trailblazer in her own right. The tenured professor was passionate about the same causes as Justice Ginsburg, including gender equality and civil rights.

In a letter to Kendra Nordin, Ginsburg told her she remembered Virginia fondly and the two were good friends at Harvard. Nordin had written to Ginsburg after the late Justice was interviewed about her early days at Harvard. She was stunned when the 87-year-old cultural icon promptly wrote her back.

“The fact that she took the time when she was in the last weeks of her life to write me a couple sentences to honor my mom was so generous,” Nordin said. “It really is very moving.”

Virginia Nordin died in 2018 at the age of 84. Now, with Justice Ginsburg’s passing, it feels like the end of an era, but what they accomplished side-by-side as young law students is a legacy that will stand the test of time.


About the Authors: