The passing of the Supreme Court Justice and women’s rights champion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sets the stage for a nasty political fight


Faith Cardoza, Politics/Op-Ed Editor

On Sept. 18, 2020 Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to ever serve as a Supreme Court Justice, passed away due to her long fight with metastatic pancreatic cancer at 87. She served on the court for 26 years, according to the Associated Press. Even before she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg had already made her mark as a champion of women’s rights in the ‘70s. She was the director of of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and argued for six major cases to the Supreme Court regarding gender equality. Her role on the Supreme Court has changed over the years, even becoming a pop-culture icon in America often referred to as the “Notorious RBG.” 

Despite having gone through four previous bouts of cancer, Ginsburg continued to actively serve on the court and become a moral compass for the other liberal-leaning justices. In a press release from the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts says, “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.” 

Unfortunately, Ginsburg’s passing will bring about a polarizing battle for the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice to take her place. NPR reported that Ginsburg told her granddaughter, Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Shortly after the news of Ginsburg’s passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel tweeted a statement, with its last line saying “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.” This all but confirms that Republican will try to hastily confirm a new Supreme Court justice before the upcoming presidential election, securing a conservative court for decades to come. The court has been evenly split with mostly 5-4 decisions and Chief Justice Roberts becoming the swing vote, but that will most likely change to 6-3 or 5-4 conservative decisions. 

While Ginsburg’s final wish is not legally binding, people are recalling a time when a Republican majority Senate refused to vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, Merrick Garland. The main argument Republicans used was that the selection should wait until after the 2016 presidential election, with Mitch McConnell saying, “Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.” Democrats essentially held the same opinion Republicans claim today: that a sitting president should be able to appoint a Supreme Court justice while they are in office. McConnell’s complete reversal exposes the hypocrisy of his statement in 2016 — it’s not about what the American people want, it’s about what the people in power want. 

It can be argued that the will of Americans is being carried out through who is elected president, but both parties seem to toss the same argument back and forth. There is a small chance that a few Republicans, such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and possibly Mitt Romney of Utah would oppose voting in a new Supreme Court justice. Only time will reveal what their true intentions are. While Ruth Bader Ginsburg was far from perfect, her memory does not deserve to be tainted by the incoming political storm. Her extraordinary contributions towards women’s rights and equal rights do not deserve to be dismantled by a conservative Supreme Court.

Email Faith at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @faith_doza

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