Ex-Edison native recalls 1975 inequality case that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for him

A former Edison resident says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once fought for him during a landmark case in the Supreme Court.

News 12 Staff

Sep 20, 2020, 7:46 PM

Updated 1,365 days ago

Share:

A former Edison resident says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once fought for him during a landmark case in the Supreme Court.
Bike shop owner Stephen Wiesenfeld married schoolteacher Paula Polatschek in 1970. Polatschek then gave birth to their son, Jason, on June 5, 1972.
During delivery, Polatschek suffered an amniotic embolism and was pronounced dead shortly after birth. Her son survived.
While Wiesenfeld grieved the loss of his wife, he applied for Social Security benefits for himself and his newborn son. They were available to Polatschek, who had been a schoolteacher for seven years.
He says that the benefits were only available to surviving widows - not men whose wives had died.
Wiesenfeld's challenge came to the attention of Ginsburg, a lawyer who was a Rutgers University professor and the head of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project at the time.
She argued inequities in the system that discriminated against Wiesenfeld, Polatschek and Jason. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in 1975, ruled in their favor and granted him the Social Security benefits.
In the years following the ruling, Wiesenfeld says they continued their friendship and Ginsburg even go to see Jason grow up.
Ginsburg officiated Wiesenfeld's wedding in 2019 at the U.S. Supreme Court nearly 40 years after their landmark victory for gender equality.


More from News 12
1:52
Police: Thieves ransacked Boonton Township home, stole valuable heirlooms

Police: Thieves ransacked Boonton Township home, stole valuable heirlooms

2:54
Sunny, hot Monday kicks off scorching week in New Jersey

Sunny, hot Monday kicks off scorching week in New Jersey

2:27
NJ cities make ready for potential heat wave. Here’s how to avoid heat-related illnesses

NJ cities make ready for potential heat wave. Here’s how to avoid heat-related illnesses

0:27
Skip the Stuff: Hoboken City Council approves measure aimed to reduced plastic waste

Skip the Stuff: Hoboken City Council approves measure aimed to reduced plastic waste

1:22
Double celebration: Paterson block party celebrates Father's Day and Eid al-Adha

Double celebration: Paterson block party celebrates Father's Day and Eid al-Adha

1:03
South Brunswick brothers who served in WWII and Korean war honored with street dedication

South Brunswick brothers who served in WWII and Korean war honored with street dedication

2:02
 A potential heat wave is coming. These sunscreen tips can save your skin

A potential heat wave is coming. These sunscreen tips can save your skin

0:23
Police: 3 suspects wanted for home burglary in Boonton Township

Police: 3 suspects wanted for home burglary in Boonton Township

1:37
Sinkhole rips through Hoboken waterfront walkway

Sinkhole rips through Hoboken waterfront walkway

1:00
Morristown records building showcases artworks by Black and Afro-Latina artists

Morristown records building showcases artworks by Black and Afro-Latina artists

0:20
EF-0 landspout tornado confirmed in Lawrence Township, NWS says

EF-0 landspout tornado confirmed in Lawrence Township, NWS says

1:57
‘Unity in the community.’ Juneteenth Festival celebrated along Bergen Street in Newark

‘Unity in the community.’ Juneteenth Festival celebrated along Bergen Street in Newark

0:38
Stafford police: Shoplifting suspect found with deer inside bag, crack cocaine at ShopRite

Stafford police: Shoplifting suspect found with deer inside bag, crack cocaine at ShopRite

0:26
Authorities: Paramus man obtained COVID-19 relief loans for business that closed before pandemic

Authorities: Paramus man obtained COVID-19 relief loans for business that closed before pandemic

2:04
Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

1:43
Severe thunderstorms on Friday cause damage across New Jersey

Severe thunderstorms on Friday cause damage across New Jersey

1:02
Police: Armed suspect barricaded at Woodbridge gas station

Police: Armed suspect barricaded at Woodbridge gas station

0:53
New Jersey will soon see a stretch of 90-degree days. Here’s how to stay safe

New Jersey will soon see a stretch of 90-degree days. Here’s how to stay safe

0:38
Jersey Proud: Battleship New Jersey comes to Paulsboro this weekend before heading back to Camden

Jersey Proud: Battleship New Jersey comes to Paulsboro this weekend before heading back to Camden

2:01
Police in New Jersey say burglars are using Wi-Fi jammers to target homes. Here's what you need to know.

Police in New Jersey say burglars are using Wi-Fi jammers to target homes. Here's what you need to know.