Governor Cuomo Reveals Plans to Erect a Statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Her Birthplace of Brooklyn

A special committee will seek artists and design ideas for the monument.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waits to enter a dinner to honor Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first female president, May 8, 2006 in Washington, DC. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waits to enter a dinner to honor Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first female president, May 8, 2006 in Washington, DC. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.

New York State will honor the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a public statue in her Brooklyn birthplace, governor Andrew Cuomo has announced.

In the coming days, the state will convene a commission responsible for recommending design and location ideas for the monument in the New York borough. The process will see the group consulting with local artists and arts institutions. 

“As a lawyer, jurist, and professor, [Justice Ginsburg] redefined gender equity and civil rights and ensured America lived up to her founding ideals — she was a monumental figure of equality, and we can all agree that she deserves a monument in her honor,” Cuomo said in a statement.  

“While the family of New York mourns Justice Ginsburg’s death,” the governor continued, “we remember proudly that she started her incredible journey right here in Brooklyn. Her legacy will live on in the progress she created for our society, and this statue will serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today and as an inspiration for those who will continue to build on her immense body of work for generations to come.”

Ginsburg died at her home in Washington on Friday following a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

Elegies quickly poured out on a social media as the news became public. In a press release confirming her death, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. called Ginsburg a “jurist of historic stature,” while fellow justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan both dubbed her a hero.

An artist-commissioned monument is an apt way to memorialize the justice, a lifelong lover and advocate of the arts. Ginsburg filled her office with works loaned from the Smithsonian, including, at various points, two Rothkos, a pair of Albers, and a painting by Max Weber.

Art, she once told the Washingtonian, “makes life beautiful.”

Over the weekend, a lace collar was placed on another New York statue, Manhattan’s Fearless Girl, in a nod to Ginsburg who often wore the accessory in an effort to “unapologetically feminize” the otherwise drab uniform of Supreme Court Justices. The monument’s commissioner, asset management company State Street Global Advisors, debuted the homage in a full-page ad in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times. It is accompanied by a caption that read, “Here’s to the original.”


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