The Boss Women Of the Supreme Court Now Featured in Their Own Portrait


Today in About Damn Time: the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery uncloaked a portrait featuring the women of the United States Supreme Court, past and present. As of November 2, 2015, the painting hangs in the Washington, D.C. gallery.

The portrait, which you can see here, includes current justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg—pour one out for the Notorious RBG—Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, as well as Sandra Day O’Connor. Retired in 2005, O’Connor “became the first woman ever named to the Supreme Court” in 1981.

Painted by Nelson Shanks and commissioned by Ian and Annette Cumming, “the painting is on loan to the museum for three years.” The Smithsonian Newsdesk describes it as a “9-foot-6-inch by 7-foot-9-inch oil painting… [featuring] the four women in an interior based on the Supreme Court building.”

It’s a tremendously meaningful portrait, both in the context of American history and in its recognition of women’s achievements. As museum director Kim Sajet tells the Huffington Post,

“The scale of this painting speaks to the grand accomplishments made by these four women and the example they set for future generations…I imagine this portrait will spark a conversation among young people, particularly young women, about breaking barriers.”

Ideally these conversations are already happening around the country. But perhaps this portrait will serve as a reminder that all women—that all marginalized people—are capable of the remarkable and the momentous.

Correction: This portrait was actually unveiled two years ago, in the fall of 2013. So let’s celebrate its two year anniversary by visiting the National Portrait Gallery and throwing SCOTUS-themed shindigs.

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Image via Getty.

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