"I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability,” said the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
A champion for women’s rights and equality, Ginsburg became the first woman in US history to lie in state at the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. She served the nation’s top court for 27 years.
In honor of her accomplishments, one Hillsboro native booked a flight to Washington DC on Sept. 23, to see her lie in state.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said Madison Baker. “She’s been such a huge inspiration in my life.”
The daughter of Tara Baker of Hillsboro, Baker is a 2014 graduate of Hillsboro High School and earned her bachelor’s degree at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She currently works as an accountant at Clifton Larson Allen in St. Louis, MO.
“When she passed away, I was very sad,” Baker said. “I saw that there was going to be a public viewing when she would lie in state, and I kept going back and forth and finally booked a flight four or five hours before I left. This is history in the making and something I will remember forever.”
In honor of Ginsburg, Baker paid for the entire trip on her credit card, as Ginsburg fought to make sure women had rights to have their own credit cards.
“So many people don’t realize what privileges we have because of this one woman,” Baker said.
When she arrived in the nation’s capitol city, Baker went to the Capitol and found a huge line of mourners waiting to get inside. She decided to wait and try again the next day. Baker said she did have a chance to see many of the mementos left by others, as well as a mural painted by Justice Ginsburg in one of the districts.
After she finished her work remotely on Thursday, Baker returned to the Capitol and waited in line for an hour and a half to pay her respects. She said everyone in line was very polite and wearing masks, as well as abiding by social distancing guidelines.
Before heading back to her hotel, she checked out some of the sites in Washington, DC, like the White House and the Washington Monument, among others.
She also returned to the Capitol Building on Friday to see the processional.
“It was such a neat experience, and I had the chance to meet people from all over,” Baker said, noting she enjoyed a conversation with a legal writing teacher from Harvard Law.
Baker was also interviewed, holding a copy of The Journal-News, by a local ABC news affiliate, as well as an NBC station about her trip.
“Her story is just remarkable,” Baker said of Ginsburg. “She’s just such a wonderful role model to all women. She embodies everything I want to be.”